Press release

Energy market referred to CMA

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to carry out an investigation into the GB energy market after Ofgem announced its decision to refer earlier today.

Energy pylon

Ofgem made a provisional decision to refer the market in March, following a joint assessment of competition in the energy market, carried out by Ofgem, the Office of Fair Trading (see notes to editors) and the CMA.

The CMA will now carry out its own comprehensive, independent investigation to see if there are any features of this market which prevent, restrict or distort competition and, if so, what action might be taken to remedy them. For more information on market investigation references see the market investigation note (PDF, 102KB, 2 pages)

The CMA is required to publish its final report by 25 December 2015.

The CMA will shortly appoint independent panel members to the Investigation Group and publish a timetable setting out a schedule for the various stages of the investigation. The appointed Investigation Group act as the decision makers and are chosen from the CMA’s panel members, who come from a variety of backgrounds, including economics, law, accountancy and/or business.

The CMA will also publish an issues statement early in the investigation, which will set out the scope of the investigation and the questions it will be looking to answer, and invite submissions in response to this.

All information relating to the investigation will be available on the energy market case page.

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 CC and the competition and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading, pursuant to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. For more information see the CMA homepage. For CMA updates follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn.

  2. 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 the CMA 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 the CMA should recommend action be taken by other bodies to remedy the adverse effects on competition, and if so, what actions or remedies should be taken. If the CMA finds that there is no adverse effect on competition, the question of remedies will not arise.

  3. Ofgem’s statement can be found on their website.

  4. Enquiries should be directed to Rory Taylor by ringing 020 3738 6798.

Published 26 June 2014