Energy company executives who manipulate markets to overcharge customers could face “criminal sanctions” and even be jailed, ministers have signalled.
Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, told MPs he was looking at bringing rules for the energy industry into line with the banking sector, where misconduct can end in a jail term.
Mr Davey made the announcement as he outlined the Government’s latest package of measures aimed at curbing rising energy prices.
The Coalition’s annual Energy Statement said the criminal rules for the energy sector are now under consideration.
“The Government wants to see strong sanctions against those who manipulate energy markets and will consult on criminal penalties, such as those already in place in financial markets, for such actions,” the report said.
Several of Britain’s biggest energy firms have recently raised prices by more than 8 per cent, and average bills are now heading towards £1,500 for the first time.