Germany’s E.ON and GDF Suez of France have been fined £478m each for price fixing after it emerged they agreed not to compete with one another.

E.ON apparently agreed not to sell gas in France in return for a promise that GDF Suez would not to try to take any of its business in Germany.

This led to complaints by British consumers about high energy prices because the UK is increasingly reliant on gas imports.

The deal between GDF Suez and E.ON revolved around the sale of gas through the 500-mile Megal pipeline, which crosses Germany from the Czech Republic to France.