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UK eyes legislation to open electricity wholesale market

26 April 2010 – The UK’s Labour Party would be prepared to legislate to ensure greater competition in energy supply in the market if it wins re-election next month, according to its “green manifesto”.
 
At a campaign event before the May 6 election, it said it wanted to open up the retail energy market, dominated by the “big six” energy companies, to new entrants to give consumers greater choice, reported Reuters.
 
If reforms proposed by Britain’s energy regulator, Ofgem, did not succeed, Labour said: “We are prepared to legislate to ensure greater competition in energy supply. We will consider measures such as limiting the ability of energy companies to generate electricity solely for themselves and reducing the barriers to the changing of licence conditions.”
 
Ofgem said in February that if new market-based initiatives to increase wholesale power market liquidity did not work, it might have to reform the market, possibly by forcing vertically-integrated utilities to sell some of their output to independent suppliers, to increase competition.
 
Britain’s power market is dominated by six large utilities:  Scottish and Southern Energy, Centrica, RWE npower, EDF Energy, E.ON UK, and Iberdrola’s Scottish Power.
 
Labour said in the document it would examine whether Ofgem itself needed further reform.