Energy bosses call for competition inquiry

Eon chief executive Tony Cocker and other speakers at the Utility Week Congress have called for a Competition and Markets Authority (formerly Competition Commission) inquiry into the energy market.

Speaking at the Congress in London on Tuesday, Cocker said: “Eon has worked very hard in the last two years to improve our transparency and rebuild trust but at the same time, it is clear we are not fully succeeding.

“We have absolutely nothing to hide and we are transparent as we can be, but it would be helpful to have a group of experts to look in from the outside, who don’t have a vested interest in the industry.”

When pushed, Cocker added that Eon might consider referring the sector to the CMA itself.

Earlier in the day EDF director of corporate affairs and strategy Paul Spence said: “It might be time for the CMA to investigate the electricity and gas markets. We have to demonstrate we are acting fairly.”

Cocker also said that Labour Leader Ed Miliband’s proposal to freeze energy prices would “not be great for customers”.

According to Cocker, the proposed price freeze would make it challenging from a retail point of view and customer service was also bound to suffer.

He said his company had to look at the proposals as a “serious risk”, with talks of a wholesale freeze in prices bound to “spook investors”.

However, he would not be drawn on whether Eon would increase bills, following SSE’s announcement of an 8.2% increase in domestic energy bills last week.