Ofgem – what does it do?

25th March 2016 | Commercial Energy

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), supporting the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (GEMA), is the government regulator for the electricity and downstream natural gas markets in Great Britain. It was formed by the merger of the Office of Electricity Regulation (OFFER) and Office of Gas Supply (Ofgas).

It was felt that such an organisation was needed to ensure standards would be maintained by suppliers and consumer interests would be protected, by promoting competition amongst suppliers. Competition between suppliers came about as a result of the Privatisation programme introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980’s – initially there were limited suppliers in the market, but gradually more independents have emerged, creating more competition in both commercial and domestic supplies.

Ofgem has the power to fine suppliers: since 2010 it has fined Eon Energy £12m for a redress levy in May 2014, British Gas a redress levy in July 2014, and most recently Npower £26m in December 2015 for not billing customers correctly and then not addressing ensuing complaints adequately.

More information available at https://www.ofgem.gov.uk