French energy giant Engie was fined this morning after regulator Ofgem found it had manipulated gas prices in 2016.
A trader at the company had spoofed the market between June and August that year, Ofgem found.
The trader had placed bids or offers to trade gas on the wholesale markets even though they had no intention of following through. Then they were able to sell at higher or lower prices, Ofgem found.
The regulator fined Engie subsidiary Engie Global Markets (EGM) £2.1m, with a £1m discount for cooperating and settling early.
“This investigation demonstrates Ofgem’s commitment to monitoring wholesale energy markets in Great Britain and ensuring their integrity on behalf of consumers,” said Ofgem boss Dermot Nolan.
Ofgem found that the company did not do enough to prevent the breach by a trader. It also failed to detect the spoofing once it started.
“Whilst Ofgem notes EGM did have some measures in place, they were inadequate,” the regulator said.
It said that a fellow participator in the British wholesale gas market had got in touch with the regulator after seeing “suspicious activity”.
Engie said it “strongly condemns practices that distort the market.”
“The company immediately undertook measures to ensure that such practices are detected and not repeated again by reinforcing the implementation of its existing supervising tools which guarantee a constant and rigorous follow-up and audit of energy trading activities.”