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Over-regulation of energy sector pushing up bills, former regulators argue

Too much red tape and unnecessary regulation may have caused the surge in energy prices experiences across the UK in recent years, former energy market regulators have argued.

Ex-regulators, such as former Ofgem boss Sir Callum McCarthy and Stephen Littlechild, who was head of electricity regulation from 1989 to 1998, believe that the new rules added since 2008 could have been too restrictive and led to an increase in the cost of energy, a news source was able to reveal.

Their warning comes in response to a competition enquiry launched by the CMA into the energy industry at Ofgem’s request, amid mounting concern over how energy suppliers have been able to continually raise prices without bowing to competitive pressure. Interventions in the market have piled extra costs onto energy firms and forced suppliers to remove some cheaper tarrifs.

Writing to the Competition and Markets Authority, the group of former energy market regulators argued that “regulatory interventions to promote more consumer engagement can increase customer and supplier transactions costs, leading to lower customer benefits including via higher prices, and weaker rather than stronger competition.”

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