By: 9 May 2024
CAT greenlights class action for energy bill victims

The Competition and Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has approved the opt-out collective proceedings order (CPO) in a major class action lawsuit.

Clare Spottiswood CBE, as the class representative, spearheads the lawsuit. She aims to secure compensation for millions of consumers who suffered overcharging on their energy bills due to a decade-long cartel of cable suppliers.

The cartel, operating between 1999 and 2009, involved global cable suppliers overcharging electricity network operators for power cables. This caused ripple effects that burdened consumers with higher energy bills.

Clare Spottiswoode expressed her satisfaction with the CAT’s certification of the claim. She stated, “We are delighted to have received certification from the CAT for this collective action to proceed. This is an important legal milestone toward the claim’s goal of achieving justice for the millions of UK electricity customers who suffered from the damaging anti-competitive behaviour of corporates at the top of the supply chain.”

She went on, “It is critical that collective actions like this are brought to hold offending entities to account and allow those impacted by their actions to receive appropriate redress.”

James Hain-Cole, partner at Scott + Scott, hailed the CAT’s decision as a pivotal moment, paving the way for a full trial. He stated, “The certification of this claim by the CAT is a first step, paving the way for a full trial. The granting of the order, alongside ongoing developments in legislation addressing aspects of funding, is positive for the collective actions regime as a whole and is further evidence of the growing role of the CAT in providing an effective route for consumers to access justice.”


The path to justice

The European Commission’s ruling in 2014, which exposed the cartel, laid the groundwork for this landmark claim. This ruling established the liability of the defendants, laying the foundation for what is termed as a “follow-on” action. The focus of the claim now shifts towards proving the direct impact of the cartel’s activities on consumers.

The scope of the class represented by Clare Spottiswoode encompasses any living person who paid for domestic electricity consumption via the distribution network in the UK from 1 April 2001, onwards. By opting for an “opt-out” basis, the lawsuit ensures that consumers are automatically included in the class and eligible for compensation unless they specifically choose to opt-out.


Image: Canva.
Emma Cockings
Emma is a content editor for Claims Media. Emma is a experienced writer with a background in client-centric personal injury for a major firm. She has attended and reported on multiple brokerage events throughout her career.