Britain's energy suppliers have threatened to strike if an inquiry is launched into their high prices, according to reports.
Lobbyists called for the energy market to be referred to the Competition Commission after Centrica recently posted record profits, but energy suppliers said they would counter this with a multibillion pound investment strike, the Daily Mail claims.
They also warned regulator Ofgem and the government that no board of directors would approve any expensive projects while the commission investigated the industry to come up with a new framework.
Independent energy watchdog Consumer Focus said the Big Six energy suppliers are indulging in "bargaining tactics", which could be having an adverse impact on competition.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Consumer Focus energy expert Richard Hall, said: "The industry argument against a Competition Commission investigation is the same protectionist line that it successfully deployed more than two years ago when calls for an investigation last reached fever pitch."
The renewed calls for reform in the energy market follow the announcement that profits for 2009 at British Gas rose by 58 per cent to £595 million.
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