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Energy Firms Paid £49m in Penalties Last Year

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Energy companies paid nearly £48.9 million in penalties and redress last year, more than the previous three years combined, a new report from Ofgem’s Enforcement Decision Panel (EDP) has revealed.

The panel of regulatory experts consults on more contentious enforcement cases for Ofgem. It handled 26 cases between September 2019 and October 2020, more than six times the number handled the year before.

The largest settlement was paid by electricity generators Intergen, which the EDP found had deliberately sent misleading signals to the National Grid about how much energy its gas-fired power stations would supply during peak hours over four days in the winter of 2016. The manipulated figures made electricity margins seem tighter than they actually were, so National Grid paid Intergen more for their electricity.

The con led to Intergen making £12.8 million, which it repaid along with a contribution to a redress fund, for a total penalty of £37.2 million.

New energy giant Ovo paid £8.8 million into Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund after admitted systems and compliance failings that led to “the majority of its customers receiving inaccurate or incomplete information” and some being over- or undercharged.

Engie Global Markets also engaged in market manipulation, “related to the month ahead contract for the delivery of natural gas.” The firm was slapped with £2.1 million penalty.

Finally, suppliers Economy Energy and E (Gas and Electricity) were fined after violating competition law with an agreement not to target each other’s customers. E paid £650,000 in redress and Economy, which had already fallen into administration, paid £200,000. Consultancy Dyball Associates, which provided the software which facilitated the agreement between the suppliers, paid £20,000.

The EDP was also involved in revoking the supply licences of Solarplicity, for failing to make Feed-in Tariff payments to consumer generators; Toto Energy, for failing to meet its Renewables Obligation; and Better Energy, for failing to enrol its smart meters in the Data Communications Companies' programme.

“Our principal objective is to protect the interests of consumers today and in the future,” Megan Forbes, chair of the Enforcement Decision Panel wrote.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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