Ofgem must step in to ensure prices set by energy suppliers are fair and to reinstall trust in them by cheap electricity customers.
This is the view of Mike O'Connor, chief executive of Consumer Focus, who pointed out that just because the recent price hikes announced by ScottishPower, British Gas and Scottish and Southern Energy were anticipated did not mean the blow was softened.
"Ofgem must get to the heart of whether prices are fair," he argued.
"Currently consumers cannot tell whether these increases are justified and that stokes the lack of trust in energy firms. Suppliers point to rising wholesale costs, yet although wholesale prices have risen recently, they remain around a third lower than their 2008 peak."
He said if the watchdog is unable to determine whether prices are fair, it must refer the matter to the Competition Commission and "be prepared to act".
Meanwhile, the other three companies that make up the Big Six suppliers are expected to implement their own price increases in the next couple of weeks.
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