* "Big Six" to publish long-term prices from March 31
* Face financial penalties if they do not comply
By Nina Chestney
LONDON, Feb 26 Britain's main energy suppliers
will have to disclose long-term power prices twice daily from
next month under rules to be enforced by regulator Ofgem aimed
at encouraging new entrants into a fairer energy market.
From March 31, Britain's six largest energy suppliers -
Centrica-owned British Gas, SSE, EDF,
RWE npower, E.ON and Scottish Power
will have to publish twice daily wholesale power prices
for as far as as two years ahead or face penalties.
"These reforms give independent suppliers, generators and
new entrants to the market, both the visibility of prices and
opportunities to trade that they need to compete with the
largest energy suppliers," Andrew Wright, Ofgem's chief
executive, said in a statement.
"Almost two million customers are with independent suppliers
and we expect these reforms to help these suppliers and any new
entrants to grow," he said.
The issue of rising energy bills has dominated the political
agenda since opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband promised to
freeze energy bills for 20 months if he wins power in a 2015
Political parties are competing with one another to be seen
to be tough on what they say are unfair price rises.
This month, British Energy Secretary Ed Davey said former
gas monopoly British Gas might be broken up to put a stop to
excessive profit margins, responding to a review by regulators.
Ofgem, the Office for Fair Trading and the Competition and
Markets Authority have been carrying out an investigation into
competition in Britain's energy retail market, looking at
prices, profits and barriers to entry.
Davey said on Wednesday that making prices more transparent
will help reveal how the "Big Six" companies trade and make it
easier for competitors to challenge their business model.
However, SSE's chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said
that although the firm welcomed Ofgem's new rules, "all measures
should apply to every player in the market to ensure there is a
more liquid and transparent market for all".