Press release

Energy market investigation – updated issues statement

The CMA has today published an updated issues statement as part of its investigation into the Great Britain energy markets.

Gas hob

The updated issues statement (PDF, 969KB, 49 pages) summarises the investigation group’s initial thinking based on the evidence it has received, and the analysis it has carried out, so far. It updates the theories of harm outlined in the initial issues statement published in July 2014 and highlights those issues likely to represent the focus of the investigation in the period up to publication of the provisional findings, which the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) expects to publish in May, and those issues where there are currently fewer concerns.

The investigation group has not yet reached any conclusions, and its views may change in the light of further evidence and analysis. The first of a number of supporting papers is also being published today, with more to follow over the next few days. These will look in more detail at the areas covered by the investigation to date, along with the results of a customer survey of nearly 7,000 domestic customers across Great Britain. The statement and working papers will also be the basis for forthcoming hearings in March.

Over the course of the investigation to date, the investigation group has received submissions from energy suppliers, generators, government bodies, consumer groups, academics and other interested parties. The investigation group has visited the premises of the 6 large energy firms in Scotland, England and Wales, a smaller supplier, a generator and National Grid. It has also held formal hearings with the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Ofgem, National Grid, consumer bodies, a small energy supplier, bodies responsible for settlement in gas and electricity, price comparison websites, a collective switching website and several academics.

All information relating to the investigation, including the updated issues statement, administrative timetable for the rest of the investigation as well as submissions received to date, hearing summaries and working papers, is available on the energy market case page.

Submissions in response to the updated issues statement and accompanying working papers are invited in writing by 5pm on Wednesday 18 March 2015 either by email to energymarket@cma.gsi.gov.uk or to:

Project Manager
Energy market investigation
Competition and Markets Authority
Victoria House
Southampton Row
London
WC1A 4AD

Notes for editors

  1. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. From 1 April 2014 it took over the functions of the Competition Commission and the competition and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading under the Enterprise Act 2002, as amended by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.
  2. The members of the Energy Market Investigation Group are: Roger Witcomb (Chairman), Lesley Ainsworth, Martin Cave, Malcolm Nicholson and Robert Spedding. The appointed investigation group act as the decision makers and have been chosen from the CMA’s panel members, who come from a variety of backgrounds, including economics, law, accountancy and business.
  3. In its investigation, the CMA is required to decide whether “any feature, or combination of features, of each relevant market prevents, restricts or distorts competition in connection with the supply or acquisition of any goods or services in the United Kingdom or a part of the United Kingdom”. If so, then there is an adverse effect on competition and the CMA will also consider whether this is resulting in a detrimental effect on customers such as higher prices, lower quality or less choice of goods or services. The CMA will then decide whether it should introduce remedies to tackle the adverse effect on competition or detrimental effect on customers so far as it has resulted from, or may be expected to result from, that adverse effect on competition, or whether it should recommend action be taken by other bodies to remedy the adverse effects on competition, and if so, what action should be taken. If the CMA finds that there is no adverse effect on competition, the question of remedies will not arise.
  4. The updated issues statement is being published as the annotated issues statement referred to in, and in accordance with, paragraph 72(a) of Guidelines for market investigations: Their role, procedures, assessment and remedies, April 2013.
  5. Enquiries should be directed to Kasia Reardon, (kasia.reardon@cma.gsi.gov.uk) or Simon Belgard, (simon.belgard@cma.gsi.gov.uk) on 020 3738 6472.
  6. For more information on the CMA, see our homepage, or follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn. Sign up to our email alerts to receive updates on markets cases.
Published 18 February 2015