Regulator moves to reassure energy customers over prices

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Ofgem has moved to reassure customers over recent price increases by stating that the British gas and electricity market is still competitive.

The body's chief executive, Alistair Buchanan, who recently met with chancellor Alistair Darling to discuss the issue, said the body could not act on the tariff hikes at there was no evidence of anti-competitive behaviour.

However, Mr Buchanan stated that energy suppliers in the UK could soon use a proposed EU windfall from carbon emission permits to help their most vulnerable customers.

"This windfall is nothing to do with collusion or anti-competitive behaviour, but stems from the free emission permits given to companies," he explained.

"That is why Ofgem is renewing its proposal that this windfall could be used to help customers in fuel poverty, who have been hardest hit by the recent energy price rises."

EDF Energy and npower both recently increased the price of their gas and electricity tariffs, citing rising prices in the wholesale energy market as a key reason for the changes.

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