Energy firms accused of 'predatory pricing'

The 'big six' energy suppliers have been accused of "predatory pricing" designed to "stifle competition".

energy firms ripping off loyal customers

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Stephen Fitzpatrick, head of new provider Ovo Energy, told MPs that the UK's biggest energy firms were guilty of ripping off loyal customers to the tune of £150 a year, and using the extra cash to attract new business.

He said: "We're seeing an increase in the big six selling products to new customers at a loss in order to squeeze out new competition."

Mr Fitzpatrick added: "It is predatory pricing to stifle competition. Some 85 per cent of customers are paying too much for their bills to cut the costs paid by 15%. Customers should be spending around £150 a year less."

He also pointed out that the poorest households were those least likely to switch suppliers, and were therefore the ones stumping up for the inflated prices.

Yesterday Labour MP John Robertson told the Commons Energy Select Committee: "There are 85 per cent of customers who don't switch. What do they get for being loyal? The perception of you guys is that you're all a bunch of money-grabbing so-and-sos."

According to The Mirror, NPower director David Mannering refused to shoulder any blame, saying: "The problem is, whenever there is a price rise announced, there are pundits who say, 'How can they do this, they are just profiteering'."

Meanwhile E.On spokesman Guy Esnouf said: "We need to move away from the blame tennis in energy towards an approach that says, 'Look, let's together reduce these prices'."

What do you think? Are energy suppliers guilty of ripping off loyal customers? Leave your comments below...