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1. Available remedies
This chapter rounds-up the remedies available if you are in dispute with a supplier of electricity, or a supplier or transporter of gas. The ultimate arbiters of such disputes are Ofgem and the Energy Ombudsman or the civil courts, which determine and enforce the standards and protections given by law. The courts may be used by both official bodies and individual consumers.
Originally, under European law the UK was required to ensure the integrity and transparency of the energy market1EU Reg 1227/2011 (REMIT) and have national authorities with investigatory and regulatory enforcement powers. The responsible regulatory authority was, and remains, Ofgem, with other functions exercised by other state bodies or state-supported organisations. Ofgem is an independent regulator, not acting on behalf of you or the supplier, so you cannot instruct it what to do.
This structure is preserved under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and the Consumer Protection (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018.2SI 2018 No.1326 These expressly preserve certain European Union rules and domestic legislation (ie, UK law) which is deemed to be ‘transposed’ into UK law and will remain in force for the time being.3ss2-4 European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018; The status of retained UK law, House of Commons Briefing Paper No.85375, 30 July 2018
The statutory remedies described in this chapter have limitations. For all practical purposes, taking your own legal action is sometimes a better way of asserting your rights. However, it costs time and money and, because of restrictions in legal aid, there may be no realistic prospect of receiving help with any civil claim beyond £10,000, except in a small number of cases.
The first step in any dispute is to approach the supplier or transporter and attempt to negotiate with it, being prepared to make a complaint if necessary.
Although not strictly a remedy, the possibility of media attention and publicity in the press, on television or via social media should not be overlooked.
1     EU Reg 1227/2011 (REMIT) »
2     SI 2018 No.1326 »
3     ss2-4 European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018; The status of retained UK law, House of Commons Briefing Paper No.85375, 30 July 2018 »