Three of the UK's big six power companies want a competition inquiry into the gas and electricity market as a way to restore customer confidence.
Having previously opposed any investigation, the change of heart follows an attack this week by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, who accused the industry of predatory pricing following a big hike in gas and electricity bills this autumn.
According to the Financial Times (FT), npower, part of German group RWE, now believes that mistrust of the industry by the public is such that a formal investigation may be the only way to restore it.
Volker Beckers, chief executive of RWE npower, said what is needed now is clarity and that if a Competition Commission inquiry achieves that clarity then "let's get on with it".
He added: "We have nothing to hide."
Another German owned group, E.ON, is also now said to want an inquiry following Mr Huhne's comments, saying it may be the only option to get out of "this situation of distrust".
French-owned group EDF was the first of the large power suppliers to advocate a referral earlier this month.