Energy minister Charles Hendry has called for an urgent investigation into claims that cheap gas consumers have been subject to unaffordable price hikes.
In a ministerial statement, the MP said that he has written to the Office of Fair Trading to ask if it can bring forward an investigation into competition in off-grid energy.
"I have asked the Office of Fair Trading if the study could explore the longer term consumer issues such as lifetime payback, consumer standards and labelling for alternative energy sources or supplies," Mr Hendry explained.
"Such a study would provide an independent assessment of the off-grid market and establish what further action may be necessary to ensure it works properly."
The minister noted that concerns have been raised over the supply of cheap energy to consumers in rural parts of the UK, particularly with regard to heating oil and gas.
Questions should be asked about whether the current market structure "provides the reassurance that consumers can get fuels for heating when needed at a price they can afford".
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