Why and how we investigate

We monitor the energy market to ensure Britain’s consumers get fair treatment and good service. 

We investigate energy companies when we think they may be breaching the obligations of their supply licences, or competition and consumer protection law. 

How we investigate

We use enforcement guidelines and a financial penalties and consumer redress policy to guide our work.

Through our compliance monitoring, we may identify a need to investigate and address issues concerning gas and electricity companies or the wider industry, relevant to particular regulatory requirements or industry risks.

We will not normally prioritise enforcement action for isolated issues affecting small numbers of consumers, unless any harm they have suffered is significant. We will generally focus on systemic weaknesses, including where those weaknesses adversely affect particular groups of consumers such as customers in vulnerable situations. As part of our compliance monitoring we collaborate with Citizens Advice and Ombudsman Services to work together with suppliers to better protect consumers. For more information on our collaboration with Citizens Advice and Ombudsman Services please see here.


We may open an investigation because a company reports itself. For example, if they realise when carrying out internal checks that they may have breached a licence condition, code or relevant legislation. For more information on what to self-report, please see our Enforcement Guidelines


We may open an investigation if someone raises a concern about wrongdoing and ‘blows the whistle’ on potential breaches of regulations or legislation.  If you would like to raise a concern about suspected wrongdoing, please see our Guidance on whistleblowing to Ofgem.

Alternative action

When deciding how best to deal with a concern, we may engage in ‘alternative action’ to make a company compliant. 

We can use alternative action in place of opening an investigation to address any ongoing concerns, when closing an investigation or during an investigation. 

Alternative action may include:

  • non-statutory undertakings or assurances to ensure future compliance
  • independent audits of conduct  
  • voluntary action by a company, which could include payments to affected parties and charitable organisations.

Market investigation references

We may make a market investigation reference to the Competition and Markets Authority where we have reasonable grounds to suspect that any feature or combination of features prevents, restricts or distorts competition in the gas and electricity markets. See Ofgem’s powers.

Publications and updates

  • Published: 21st Mar 2019
  • Agendas, minutes and presentations
  • 1 Associated documents
This diagram shows how Citizens Advice, the Ombudsman and Ofgem engage to better protect consumers.