Tough new rules will make energy market rigging a criminal offence

Manipulating the energy market could become a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in jail under proposals being put forward by Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey today.

Under the new laws, it would be a criminal offence to fix the price of energy at an artificial level or use insider information to buy or sell energy on the wholesale market.

It would also be an offence to make misleading claims or conceal facts about wholesale energy prices to manipulate the market – especially if it could affect competition in the energy market.

Introducing these criminal sanctions is part of the government’s reforms to the energy market, an official release by the DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change) suggested. Pending the consultation and Parliamentary process, the proposed new criminal sanctions could come into force in spring 2015.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey commented on this announcement:

“Manipulating the energy market is absolutely unacceptable, and these proposals provide a much stronger deterrent – more in line with the approach taken in the financial markets.

“The government is doing everything it can to help consumers by increasing market competition to drive prices down. We have also set up the first ever annual competition assessment, which has led to the first ever referral of the sector to the competition authorities.”

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