UK energy firms should fully disclose power trades - MPs

LONDON Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:20am GMT

The sun sets behind transformers at EDF Energy's Hinkley Point B nuclear power station in Bridgwater, southwest England December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

The sun sets behind transformers at EDF Energy's Hinkley Point B nuclear power station in Bridgwater, southwest England December 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's top energy suppliers should be forced to disclose what proportion of their electricity they trade on the open market, amid concerns that firms are not doing enough to boost liquidity and competition, a group of politicians said on Thursday.

Forcing energy companies to disclose trades would also restore public trust, following recent reports of price-fixing in the UK's wholesale gas market, the UK's Parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee said in a new report.

"Even before the recent reports of wholesale price-fixing, we were extremely concerned about the lack of transparency around wholesale prices and suppliers' trading arrangements," the Conservative Party politician and committee chairman Tim Yeo said.

The report recommends that suppliers should publish criteria to gauge the effectiveness of their efforts to improve liquidity in electricity markets.

It furthermore recommends that firms publish an annual assessment of their efforts in this regard.

Most of Britain's six largest utilities - Scottish and Southern Energy, Centrica, Iberdrola's Scottish Power, RWE npower, EDF Energy and E.ON - have committed to selling at least 30 percent of their day-ahead electricity generation on the openly traded exchanges.

Despite these developments, consumer groups and regulator Ofgem are frustrated by the slow pace of change, accusing companies of dragging their feet.

RWE npower denied this was the case.

"The UK has one of the most competitive retail and wholesale markets in Europe," RWE npower Chief Executive designate Paul Massara said.

"Over 90 percent of our generation and retail volumes are traded separately and transparently on the wholesale markets rather than ‘netting' them internally," he said.

(Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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