Octopus added that it was no longer advertising its variable rate, saying it would be “unwise” to do so, and put a number of warnings on its websites advising people not to change.
Although companies are technically not required to actively market deficit rates, Ofgem said denying new customers the best rates was against the rules.
A spokesperson said: “Suppliers who offer standard variable rates to existing customers must also offer it to new customers. “
The Telegraph understands that Mr. Kwarteng is “furious” at energy companies who claim they have broken the rules.
A spokesperson for his department said last night: “The government expects all suppliers to comply with regulations and license conditions, which are specifically in place to protect consumers.”
“The Secretary of Business and Energy has asked Ofgem to urgently investigate this issue, and we expect the regulator to take immediate action if violations have occurred.
Energy companies said they had been forced to make “difficult business decisions in light of current market conditions” after being forced to take on customers from a number of collapsed rivals in the wake of the shutdown. soaring costs. But they are now being criticized for cutting the cheapest deals from struggling families.