The government has launched the next phase of its energy market reforms, with proposed laws that could mean up to two years in jail for anyone guilty of rigging wholesale gas and electricity prices.
Energy secretary Ed Davey announced a consultation on the regulations, which would make it a criminal offence to fix the price of energy at an artificial level.
It is part of a broad set of energy market reforms that aim to increase competition, lower prices and ensure investment.
Davey said: “Manipulating the energy market is absolutely unacceptable, and these proposals provide a much stronger deterrent – more in line with the approach taken in the financial markets.
“The government is doing everything it can to help consumers by increasing market competition to drive prices down.”
Another energy market landmark was reached earlier this month when the Low Carbon Contracts Company became operational.
The body will pay power generators the new form of subsidy for investing in renewable sources of energy.
The government believes £100bn of investment in the energy sector could be needed in the next five years alone.