Watchdog strengthens powers to protect consumers

Three lit gas hobs

Ofgem has tightened up rules to protect the consumer from any financial problems a parent company of a gas or electricity company may run into in the future.

The changes to the rules have come into effect this week and will mean that Ofgem can give early warning of a company's financial distress and lessen the impact of any financial trouble on consumers.

Ian Marlee from Ofgem, said: "Given the significant investment of around £30bn that will take place over the next eight years, it is vital that consumers' money is protected.

"That is why Ofgem is strengthening the ring fence rules and introducing a requirement for two sufficiently independent non-executive directors on network licensee Boards."

The watchdog says that the requirement to have two non-executive board directors will help mitigate the risk that executive directors with other roles could become conflicted at times of crisis.

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