Regulator row

Ofgem director quits over price cap failure

power supply
Ofgem is accused of not protecting consumers

A director of the energy regulator Ofgem has resigned, claiming it is failing to protect consumers from soaring bills.

Christine Farnish said she had resigned because did not believe that the watchdog had “struck the right balance between the interests of consumers and the interests of suppliers”.

MPs have already accused Ofgem of pushing up bills by being “negligent” and “incompetent” in its regulation of energy suppliers.

Ms Farnish, who served on the Ofgem board for several years, told The Times: ‘I resigned from the Ofgem board because I could not support a key decision to recover additional supplier costs from consumer bills this winter.’

She said she believes the move will ‘add several hundred pounds to everyone’s bill in order to support a number of suppliers in the coming months’.

It is understood her resignation is linked to Ofgem’s decision to change the methodology of the price cap.

An Ofgem spokesman said: ‘We are thankful to Christine for her many years of devoted service to Ofgem.

“Due to this unprecedented energy crisis, Ofgem is having to make some incredibly difficult decisions where carefully balanced trade-offs are being weighed up all the time. But we always prioritise consumers’ needs both in the immediate and long term.

Ms Farnish’s resignation comes amid mounting pressure on the Government to bring forward extra measures to tackle surging inflation and rising energy bills.

It has become a major battleground between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak in their quest to succeed Boris Johnson as Tory party leader.

Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow climate change secretary, said Ms Farnish’s resignation was “further proof that the Government is asleep at the wheel when it comes to the energy bills crisis.

“For 12 years, the Conservatives have totally failed to regulate (the) energy market. In no other country has 32 energy suppliers gone bust,” said the former Labour party leader.

“We simply cannot allow the British people to suffer a further increase in bills. It is intolerable that the Conservatives continue to offer no solutions to this crisis, and oppose Labour’s plan.” 

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