Choice is great for consumers, it drives prices down and gives you more options when switching. It’s thanks to the smaller energy companies charging less and offering renewable options that many homes are making the switch. Ofgem oversees the energy market, promoting healthy competition and green alternatives. Ofgem is on the consumer’s side, protecting you from over-excessive bills or a lack of options when switching.
What is Ofgem?
Ofgem stands for the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets protect the interest of existing and future electricity and gas consumers(it’s sometimes mispronounced Ofgen or spelt Offgem). They state that their primary objective is to ‘protect the interest of existing and future electricity and gas consumers’. In short, they make sure that customers aren’t ‘taken for a ride’ and left out of pocket. Ofgem have 3 main ways of doing this:
- Promoting competition in Energy markets.
- Ensuring the reliable supply of gas and electricity to homes.
- Helping to make environmental improvements in the industry.
How do I complain to Ofgem?
Complain to the Energy Ombudsman about your energy provider.
Do you have a complaint about your energy provider and are getting nowhere with them? Ofgem help you by regulating the industry, making sure companies treat you fairly. However, they don’t fight your case for you. If you have a complaint about your gas and electricity provider, the Energy Ombudsman is the organisation you want.
The Energy Ombudsman was set up in 2006 and is fully approved by Ofgem to handle disputes you have with your energy provider. They are completely impartial and will assess your complaint and decide what action should be taken. The Ombudsman has the power to make the energy company correct the problem, apologise or make a payment to you. See our guide on how to successfully complain to the Energy Ombudsman. You can report your case to the Energy Ombudsman on the contact number below.
If you want to complain to Ofgem either about their practices or policies within the energy industry, you can contact them directly on the number below.
Jobs & Careers
If you’re interested in advancing your career with Ofgem, you can brouse their current vacancies here.
Graduate Development Programme
Ofgem graduate programme.
Recent university graduates can get a foot on the job ladder by applying to Ofgem’s graduate training scheme. To apply for the Ofgem Graduate Development Programme you have to have a 2:1 and have no more than 2 years work experience after graduating. Your degree should be in a related field of business energy or sustainability such as Economics, Geography, Engineering and Business. You will get to move around the company working in different departments getting an idea of the organisation. Throughout this time you will have a line manager to guide you and a mentor to support you through the 18 month process. At the end of the program you may be offered a permanent position depending on your performance and if there’s a job available.
Ofgem Renewable Energy Incentives
Ofgem promote renewable energy generation to households and energy providers by offering payments or grants. They have a number of schemes that make it more financially attractive to go green. You can check out our guides to see which one you’re entitled to receive payments for generating your own energy and whether it’s worth it to install.
- Domestic & Non domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
- Ofgem ECO guidance
- Electricity Network Innovation Competition ENIC
You can create a new RHI account or login to your account at the link below to check your incentive. perhaps you have forgotten your password or username, then you can reset that information and reestablish your password by clicking on the appropriate links on the login page.
The Story of Ofgem
To understand why we need Ofgem we need to go back to the 1980’s before it was set up. For years, British Gas had a hold on the market and it was likely that they would be your only choice, save a few regional suppliers. Prices were controlled by the government so you still got a good deal but had little or no choice of supplier with little innovation in the market.
The history of Ofgem.
Then in the 1980s the energy market was privatised by the Thatcher government (full deregulation and price restrictions would come later). This meant the energy companies were in private hands but operating as monopolies which is bad for consumers. So as part of the privatisation process the government set up a regulatory body to make sure consumers got a good deal. Ofgem was created by the merger of the Office of Electricity regulation (OFFER) and the Office of Gas supply (OFGAS) creating one organisation that ensures that all interests of the consumer are being looked after.
In its early days, Ofgem set price controls that fixed the maximum amount monopoly suppliers could charge domestic customers. These price restrictions continued into the 90s. After 1999, there were slowly more and more small gas and electricity companies popping up offering alternatives to the traditional big 6 suppliers. Because of this increased choice for us consumers, coupled with the ´competition act 1998´ allowing for a free market, Ofgem took the decision to start to remove price regulation in 2000. After initial pilot schemes worked well, it removed price regulation entirely by 2002.
On the back of unprecedented world fuel price increases thereafter, the number of those in debt to their energy providers shot up, followed by high disconnection rates. This all came at a time when households were already struggling with rising prices for food, petrol, mortgages and other essentials. Since then, Ogem have been working to ensure that customers are provided with energy on fair terms, ensuring companies do not take advantage of their customers by making sure, customers aren’t tied in to expensive contracts and always have an option to switch to a better tariff.
Where does Ofgem’s authority come from?
Ofgem is a non ministerial arm of the Government and a series of Acts over the years and some legislation from the European Community have defined its duty and its power to act over energy firms. You can see a list of them in the table below.
|Act of Parliament||Powers of Ofgem|
|The Gas Act 1986||The privatisation of British Gas and it’s flotation on the stock market on 8th December 1986.|
|The Electricity Act 1989||The privatisation of the electricity supply in Great Britain.|
|The Gas Act 1995||Owners of certain gas processing facilities had to make the available to other persons.|
|The Competition Act 1998||To ensure fair trade and make provision for competition and tackle abuse of dominant positions in markets.|
|The Utilities Act 2000||Requirement for Electricity companies to have separate licenses for each one of their businesses e.g. one for supply and one for provision.|
|The Enterprise Act 2002||Stopped anti competitive behaviour and gave Ofgem more powers to take suppliers to court.|
|The Energy Acts of 2004, 2008 and 2010||Changes to renewable energy generation and gas and electricity supply.|
Ofgem have offices in Glasgow, Cardiff and London. You can phone them on the contact number below or send them an email. Remember if you have a dispute with the Gas and Electricity provider you should contact the Energy Ombudsman.
How Ofgem is changing the market
Ofgem promotes innovation by supporting projects that help achieve a low carbon future either by promoting renewable energy generation or projects that mean we use less energy.
In 2017 Ofgem funded a project run by Western Power Distribution to help change the times of day we use electricity. They wanted to find out if charging people less for their electricity during the day would change people’s electricity use habits. They measured this against devices that automatically switch on hot water immersion systems at off peak times.
They found that people did use more electricity during the day to take advantage of those cheaper prices but it was not as significant as the automated devices in the home. Trials like this point the way to the future of regulation and cheaper energy bills. It shows it would be more efficient to invest in automated devices in the home rather than educating people about how to save money by using off peak electricity.