THE leader of a Tetbury energy firm has welcomed the prospect of a competition inquiry into the ‘big six’ energy companies.

Peter Randall, chief executive of the Doughton-based Ecovision, said although the inquiry into whether the six mainstream energy companies are competing unfairly will take 18 months to carry out, the good news is that newer and smaller firms will be able to compete on a more level playing field.

“We will probably see prices fall as a result of this,” said Mr Randall. “The planned inquiry may drive momentous change in the structure of the industry, but there is no need for us to wait for the outcome in order to reduce our energy bills.”

Energy regulator Ofgem said soaring household bills and public distrust highlighted the need for an investigation into the big six, which will determine whether the companies are making excess profits, after they quadrupled to more than £1 billion in three years.

A full-scale investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority is due to take place with focus on the big six — Centrica, SSE, E.ON, nPower, RWE and EDF — which control 95 per cent of the gas and electricity market in the UK.