Energy firm boss bids to deflect prices row by calling for inquiry into market

Post by Kevin Jackson on 30th October 2013 in General industry

Energy firm boss bids to deflect prices row by calling for inquiry into market

A boss of one of the UK's 'big six' energy suppliers has admitted to MPs that consumers don't trust the companies.

Tony Cocker, Eon UK chief executive, made the admission in addressing members of Parliament's energy select committee at a special meeting called to discuss the recent wave of hefty price rises imposed by the major energy suppliers.

Mr Cocker said he had written to Prime Minister David Cameron, the Secretary of State, and energy market regulator Ofgem, calling for an independent inquiry to be held, "to depoliticise the debate".

MPs nevertheless tore into Mr Cocker and counterparts who also spoke, and Labour committee member John Robertson asked them: "How do you expect to gain that trust back?"

His party colleague, Ian Lavery, said the energy supply industry should be renationalised.

And after the debate, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband accused the companies of coming up with a "list of excuses" for their price rises.

"We don't need more excuses and more reviews – we need action against companies that are overcharging people and taking advantage of a broken market," he said.

He was backed by the boss of a small, independent player in the market, Stephen Fitzpatrick, of Ovo Energy.

Saying he could not explain the latest price rises, Mr Fitzpatrick also told the committee that the big firms were "charging the maximum price they feel they can get away with to the customers they feel will not switch [suppliers]".

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