Big Six Force Climbdown in Energy Profits Storm; Ofgem Ditches Its Controversial Set of Forecasts as Industry Hits Back; Ofgem Halts Profit Reports

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), May 24, 2015 | Go to article overview

Big Six Force Climbdown in Energy Profits Storm; Ofgem Ditches Its Controversial Set of Forecasts as Industry Hits Back; Ofgem Halts Profit Reports


Byline: JON REES

REGULATOR Ofgem has backed down and stopped publishing its controversial forecasts of the profit margins of energy companies in the face of criticism from the industry.

The monthly Supply Market Indicator (SMI) also predicted the level of customers' bills over the following 12 months. Ofgem regularly used the figures to urge householders to shop around for better deals in the energy market.

The figures have fuelled public and political anger over alleged profiteering by energy companies and the firms have long accused the regulator of issuing estimates which are wildly at odds with real costs and profits.

Ofgem predicted that the Big Six energy firms would make profits of PS120 per customer in 2013, but the actual figure turned out to be PS52.

Energy UK, which represents the industry, commissioned a report earlier this year which claimed Ofgem's figures were out by as much as 200 per cent because of its outdated modelling systems and its alleged disregarding of costs.

The numbers have been used by politicians and consumer groups to attack the profit levels of energy firms. The subject was a key political battleground during the General Election after Labour's then leader Ed Miliband pledged to freeze energy bills if his party was elected.

It is understood that the decision to suspend publication of the SMI was delayed until after the General Election because of its political sensitivity. …

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