Energy industry has ‘regressed since CMA’

The energy retail industry has gone backwards in terms of the way it treats and works for its customers, according to First Utility.

Speaking at Energy UK’s annual conference, First Utility UK managing director Ed Kamm told delegates that since the CMA published its recommendations to improve engagement and competitiveness in the energy market, things have actually got worse for consumers.

He said: “For me this is not an industry which, from a consumer perspective, has progressed. It has actually regressed since the CMA remedies.”

Kamm’s comments came after a straw poll at the conference, where 45 per cent of the audience stated that active switchers would benefit most from the CMA’s remedies, whereas only 11 per cent thought non-switching customers on standard variable tariffs (SVTs) would benefit the most.

Kamm added: “That’s exactly the opposite of what we want to happen. It is not an energy market that works in the best interests of all consumers.”

He also attacked the view of British Gas managing director Mark Hodges, who told delegates that the CMA’s remedies should be given a chance to bed in and make a difference.

Kamm said: “I’m disappointed in my fellow panel member, who basically said let’s give the CMA and the remedies a chance, because that to me says they know it’s not going to work.

“I’m sorry, but when the people who make the rules in the industry and have all the customers in the industry says let’s give it a chance, that means one thing to me.”

Hodges replied that: “It’s a nice easy pot shot. I’m up for SVT customers being part of that competitive mix.”

He added: “When I said I believe in markets and I will give the CMA a chance, that’s not because I’m hiding, but because I genuinely believe that will happen.”