Watchdog hits back over claims from Npower

Suzie Neuwirth
REGULATOR Ofgem today blasted Npower’s breakdown of energy bills, calling its data on network costs “incorrect and misleading”.

The big six firm’s new report said that energy network distribution costs would rise by 22.7 per cent between 2013 and 2020, adding £58 on to the average annual duel-fuel bill.

“Suppliers control less than 20 per cent of a bill and I want to shine a light on all the different aspects of energy – particularly to reassure my customers that there is no hidden profit,” said Paul Massara, chief executive of Npower’s parent company RWE Npower.

But Ofgem refuted the figures. “Ofgem directly regulates the money that network companies can earn through charges,” said the energy watchdog.

“Given this level of certainty we can see that after 2014 network costs per household are expected to remain broadly flat in real terms. It is unclear how Npower can state with any authority otherwise.”

Customers’ spiralling energy bills have been at the forefront of the political debate in recent months, with the companies blaming green levies and rising wholesale costs.

Labour has accused the firms of profiteering and has pledged to freeze bills until 2017 if elected.

Npower said: “We reviewed the gas network charge costs with Ofgem prior to publication of our report. On further discussion with Ofgem we consider that the total increase in real terms of energy transportation costs is in the region of £5 to £10 per dual fuel customer over the period 2014 to 2020, about £15 lower that we had earlier calculated.”