The UK's energy infrastructure company National Grid has been fined by the government's regulator for restricting the potential for consumers to access cheap energy.
Industry watchdog Ofgem has fined the company £30 million for restricting competition in the gas market and the sentence is the highest ever inflicted on a company in the UK for abusing its market dominance.
"This ruling confirms that National Grid has abused its dominance in the domestic gas metering market, restricting competition and harming consumers," said Ofgem chairman Lord Mogg.
He added: "This case illustrates Ofgem's commitment to make full use of its powers to tackle abuse and ensure energy markets work effectively for consumers."
The ruling was based on a deal struck by National Grid and energy suppliers to own gas meters, which then resulted in the body restricting the ability of suppliers to replace old meters with newer ones.
Ofgem ruled that represented an abuse of the company's dominant market position in February last year and the decision has now been upheld by the competition appeal tribunal.
It is hoped the decision will ensure consumers are able to receive cheap gas and electricity from suppliers in future.
Suppliers have come under increasing pressure to provide homes with cheap energy and Liberal Democrat MP John Barrett recently tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling on energy firms to slash their prices.
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