Ofgem may longer fine national grid operators the £500m it intended to

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Electricity suppliers may be allowed keep hold of almost £500 million by Energy regulator Ofgem according to a new report - despite the fact they failed to meet targets over energy wastage.

According to ThisisMoney, the energy watchdog has the power to claim up to £489m from the companies that operate the national grid - a power granted to them under terms of a scheme designed to cut down on keeping the amount of energy wasted to a minimum.

Due to new concerns raised on how the figures are collected however, Ofgem may decide to waive its decision to claim back the sum.

If Ofgem went ahead with its original plan of taking the money from the national grid operators, the money would be returned to energy suppliers who in turn would return the money to customers - potentially cutting electricity bills by up to £20 a household.

British Gas owner, Centrica, has criticised the decision, deeming it a reward for the grid operating companies.

It said: "We consider a £489 million reward for the losses incentive scheme to be unwarranted.

"We believe it is vital a solution is found that provides an appropriate return for any progress the grid operators made in reducing losses…while protecting customers from excess rewards resulting from a flawed method of restating performance."

Ofgem usually provides cash incentives to grid operating companies for keeping energy loss down - penalising them if they fail to meet quotas.

However, the 'losses incentive mechanism' it has in place has been halted while it is checked for reliability in terms of data collection.

Ofgem could now give the firms in charge of the power grid the benefit of the doubt and allow them to keep the incentives.

It said: "All options are still on the table. Ofgem has been engaging extensively with the industry to agree a consistent methodology to remove the abnormal amount of data corrections made by suppliers in 2009-10 and ensure consumers get a fair deal.

"No decision has been made on this methodology."

With high energy bills continuing to haunt households, the government has launched schemes such as the Green Deal which allows homeowners to fit things such as an energy efficient boiler and solar panelling in their home at a subsidised rate. However so far, uptake has been somewhat slow.

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