Warning over alleged rigging of gas prices

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ANYONE involved in the alleged rigging of Britain’s wholesale gas market will face the “full force of the law”, Energy Secretary Ed Davey warned yesterday.

Mr Davey promised “firm action” if there was any truth in allegations of gas price manipulation made by a whistleblower to the Financial Services Authority and energy watchdog Ofgem.

In a statement to MPs, Mr Davey said: “I see it as my job to protect consumers, not least the most vulnerable, who can suffer the most when markets are abused.”

He said it was not possible to understand what impact any attempted manipulation, if proven, had on the market or prices paid by consumers, but the government had an “absolute determination to clamp down on any abuse that is uncovered, wherever and by whoever”.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman said if the claims were true, then regulators should come down “very hard” on those responsible. .

All six big energy companies have denied any rigging of the £300 billion market. Industry trade body Energy UK said its members would co-operate fully with regulators.

Angela Knight, Energy UK chief executive, said: “This is a very serious issue which must be investigated swiftly.”

The FSA and Ofgem are looking into allegations made by a whistleblower who worked at ICIS Heren, a companythat sets “benchmark” prices.