Ofgem’s move comes amid near-unparalleled prices for natural gas on the UK spot market. The regulator is asking the European Commission to intervene in a bid to discover whether the level of gas imports to the UK constitutes ‘market distortion’.

There are concerns that the interconnector pipeline from Belgium to the UK is not being used to its full capacity despite the soaring prices being charged for gas in the UK. However, there is contrasting evidence suggesting that the largest wholesale price disparity is in fact between the Netherlands and Belgium, rather than the latter and British shores.

An Ofgem spokesman told the BBC: We are looking for answers to the recent inflation in prices.

We need to determine that the price movements have been caused by supply and demand factors, rather than any distortion of the market.

Consumers need to be satisfied there are no signs the UK market is being manipulated from Europe.