Last week the CMA published the latest findings of its Energy Market Investigation, the “Summary of provisional decision on remedies”. More simply, the document lays out what the CMA proposes should be done to “fix” the UK retail energy market, given its previous conclusions that many consumers overpay significantly. In this post I will attempt to lay out my thoughts on the remedies, and the extent to which they are good or horrifically bad ideas. Spoiler: one or two are horiffically bad. I also won’t deal with everything the document lays out, so sorry if anyone has particularly strong opinions on the locational adjustments for transmission losses.
The recent provisional findings from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into energy markets includes the less than shocking revelation that SMEs overpay for their utilities. It found that most micro-businesses overpay for their energy usage and that 45% are on default tariffs that they had never negotiated with their suppliers. Consequently, suppliers are free to set high prices and enjoy profit margins of 8%, which are exorbitant compared to the 3% in domestic markets. Why does this appear to be the case? In this post I’ll be exploring some of the arguments made in the provisional CMA report as well as reflecting on my own experience running a small business and switching our electricity provider.