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OVO has a say in the energy price freeze debate

By Katie Bunting Wednesday 25 September 2013

Like all energy companies and customers we were listening with interest to Ed Miliband’s speech at the Labour Party Conference yesterday. Labour’s proposals to fix energy prices for 20 months and overhaul the industry have sparked much debate on the issue and we’ve been having our say in an interview with BBC News. Have a look at what our Managing Director, Stephen Fitzpatrick, had to say below.

What do you make of the policy?

"I think it’s great to see politicians recognising the fact that energy prices are a big issue for consumers and that something needs to be done to break the stranglehold of the big six. I’m not sure this is the best way to do it. I think that it’s often been the case that regulators and politicians have been too slow and too far behind the big six to really effectively regulate them, and we’d like to see them focus more on the competition and improving competition bringing new entrants into the market. Rather than simply regulating existing energy companies".

Do you think the energy companies will try and raise prices in the meantime?

"It’s almost certainly the case that big energy companies faced with an imminent price freeze will try and increase them as quickly as possible before then".

Are the big six getting away with making too much profit?

"I think the big six are making too much profit out of most of their customers and I think this is the big problem in the market you see these huge differentials between the prices that consumers pay so you can find out that your neighbour is paying 30 per cent less for their energy for exactly the same amount. And that’s where profiteering isn’t just a question of how much money the energy company are making but how much their making on each customer".

Will this really be a good deal for consumers?

"No almost certainly not. We believe very strongly that the consumer needs to see a better choice, a bigger range of energy companies in the market and we want to see the regulator and the government and the opposition calling for more competition in the energy sector that’s what’s really going to help keep prices down for customers".

Will this affect your company model?

"No I don’t think so, we set up our business to make sure that we are able to pass on the greatest amount of savings possible to energy customers. So we’ve always had very low prices. We already offer customers a fixed price deal so that they know when energy prices are rising they will be well protected from that".

Will you be affected?

"No I think it will probably be great for our business to see any kind of pressure put on the big six".

Final thoughts - What do you make of the policy?

"I don’t think it’s a great policy I mean it’s great to see politicians taking notice of the fact that energy prices are increasingly a big challenge for consumers, but I don’t think more government intervention is the answer. I think the only thing that’s going to help bring prices down and break the stranglehold of the big six is more competition; you need more choice in the energy sector not just the same old companies with the same old gimmicks".

Additional information - Are the big six making too much profit?

"They are almost certainly making too much profit from customers I think that’s the real crime in the energy sector. We’ve been calling for a long time for the regulator and the government to take notice of the fact that the most vulnerable customers, those that aren’t able to switch to the best energy tariffs, always end up paying the most so you end up where a very small number of customers benefit from what looks like competition. We think the only thing that is going to stop this is the government and the regulator standing up and taking notice and introducing regulation to make sure all energy prices are fair that they reflect the cost of supplying energy not just whatever the big six think they can get away with charging".