Ofgem issues statement of objections under the Competition Act to Economy Energy, E, and Dyball Associates

Publication date
31st May 2018
Information types
Policy areas

Ofgem has issued a statement of objections, under the Competition Act 1998, to two energy suppliers and a consultancy firm. Ofgem alleges that these companies breached competition law. 

The statement of objections is addressed to energy suppliers Economy Energy and E (Gas and Electricity), and Dyball Associates, which provide software and consultancy services to the UK electricity and gas markets.

The statement of objections alleges that: 

  • Between at least January and September 2016, Economy Energy, E (Gas and Electricity) and Dyball Associates had an agreement that prevented the two suppliers actively targeting each other’s customers through face-to-face sales. Most of Economy Energy and E (Gas and Electricity)’s customers are prepayment customers.
  • To facilitate this agreement, the companies shared commercially sensitive information, in the form of details about their current customers.  
  • Dyball facilitated this arrangement by designing, implementing and maintaining software systems that allowed customer lists to be shared, and recruitment of each other’s customers to be blocked.

Ofgem’s provisional view is that the above arrangements prevented, restricted and distorted competition amongst energy suppliers. 

At this stage in the investigation, our findings are provisional. We have not found there has been a breach of competition law. We will carefully consider any representations from the companies before deciding whether the law has in fact been broken.

The case will be considered by Ofgem’s enforcement decision panel in due course. 

Notes to Editors:

1. The Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (“GEMA”) proposes to find that Economy Energy Trading Limited and its parent undertaking, Economy Energy Holdings Limited, E (Gas and Electricity) Limited and its parent undertaking, E Holdings Limited, and Dyball Associates Limited and its parent, Dyball Holdings Limited, have infringed the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 (“CA98”).

GEMA has concurrent powers with the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) under the CA98 to investigate and take enforcement action in relation to suspected infringements of UK and EU competition law. Read more on the investigation.

2. Chapter I of the CA98 prohibits parties from entering into anti-competitive agreements and concerted practices.

3. A statement of objections gives notice of a proposed infringement decision
under the CA98 to the parties being investigated. The parties then have the opportunity to make written and oral representations in response to the case set out by Ofgem. It is standard practice for competent authorities to issue such notices as part of its investigations and no assumption should be made that there has been an infringement of the CA98.

4. GEMA, Ofgem’s governing body, may impose a financial penalty on any business found to have infringed the Chapter I prohibition of up to 10% of its annual worldwide group turnover. In calculating financial penalties, GEMA takes into account a number of factors including seriousness of the infringement(s), turnover in the relevant market and any mitigating and/or aggravating factors.

5. Information about how GEMA applies the CA98 can be found in, ‘Competition Act 1998: The application in the Energy Sector'. 
Guidance issued by the CMA on the CA98 can be obtained online.

6. Ofgem is the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, which supports GEMA, the regulator of the gas and electricity industries in Great Britain. Our principal objective when carrying out our functions is to protect the interests of existing and future electricity and gas consumers. The Authority's powers are provided for under the Gas Act 1986, the Electricity Act 1989 and the Utilities Act 2000.

Further information

For media, contact:

Ruth Somerville: 0207 901 7460

Media out of hours mobile: 07766 511470 (media calls only)

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