Energy Retail Market
The gas and electricity regulator Ofgem launched its Retail Market Review in late 2010 due to concerns that the energy market was not working effectively for consumers.
This is also the reason why, in June 2014, Ofgem referred the retail energy market to the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). This decision to refer the market for investigation followed the results of a review into competition in the market which Ofgem carried out in March 2014. This State of the Market Assessment report can be seen here
The original Retail Market Review wanted to address the barriers to effective consumer engagement. These barriers included the complexity of tariff options, the poor quality of information provided to consumers and low levels of trust in energy suppliers.
Through the Retail Market Review, Ofgem worked on a range of proposals to place specific and binding requirements on suppliers to address concerns.
The overall objective of the resulting reform programme is to make the retail energy market simpler, clearer and fairer for consumers. A customer-focused page on the reforms which were titled: Simpler Clearer, Fairer can be seen here
Most of the reforms are now in place including binding Standards of Conduct to ensure suppliers treat consumers fairly; rules to remove complex tariffs from the market; and rules to improve supplier communications, such as bills and annual summaries.
The CMA has now concluded its energy market investigation and has published a full final report setting out recommendations to Ofgem and government. Examples of the measures recommended are a transitional price cap for prepayment customers and a withdrawal of certain parts of the simpler choices component of the RMR rules.