The Government’s planned roll-outs of “smart” energy meters and electric vehicles are under threat as a result of Theresa May’s flagship conference pledge for a cap on electricity and gas bills, industry figures have warned.Senior sources said the Prime Minister’s plans to set limits on energy prices paid by consumers cast into doubt ministers’ plans for all homes to be offered smart meters by 2020. They also disclosed that Big Six firms are gearing up for a “significant” legal challenge if the cap was proposed at levels previously indicated by Mrs May and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which would “wipe out all the profitability for the whole industry”.
Telegraph 21st Oct 2017 read more »
Theresa May’s flagship plan to cap energy bills has been cast into doubt after evidence emerged that Whitehall officials are laying ground for it to be shelved next year. The Independent has learnt the Government has already told energy investors Ms May’s draft proposal will be ditched if it feels the “Big Six” power firms are doing enough to tackle high bills, an approach now also confirmed by civil servants. It comes amid a months-long cabinet rift over her election promise to end “rip-off” energy price rises by “introducing a cap”, a pledge fleshed out in her conference speech less than three weeks ago. Tory insiders who back a cap now fear the Draft Domestic G as and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill brought forward by Ms May will never be written into full legislation, let alone passed before the current parliamentary session runs out of time. The cabinet split over the cap follows others over Brexit and university tuition fees, as the Prime Minister strains to keep her administration on track in the wake of June’s election. Despite pressure from Tory backbenchers who promised voters a cap in June, The Independent has been passed a transcript of a telephone call in which an energy investor is told by an official at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, that the Draft Bill could be dropped in early 2018. The investor asks whether elements of the cap-proposal can be changed and is told the draft still has three to six months pre-legislative scrutiny before it is even introduced to Parliament as a Bill.
Independent 22nd Oct 2017 read more »
The Prime Minister was getting towards the end of her interrupted conference speech, and her voice was still catching. The audience was on edge, willing her to get through it, and was hardly paying any attention to her words. She was talking about “the broken energy market” and said: “Next week, this Government will publish a draft bill to put a price cap on energy bills.” So her announcement didn’t have quite the impact in the hall that had been planned, but it certainly caused a stir in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Officials – and Greg Clark, the Secretary of State – had abandoned plans for an energy price cap law after the election, and now had a week to put together a draft bill. The bill had been promised in the Conservative manifesto but it had been dropped from the Queen’s Speech after the Government lost its majority. But now Theresa May needed some policies to put in her speech, unaware that it would go down in history for reasons unconnected with its content. All the same, the price cap is important. The Conservatives are still stung by the popularity of Ed Miliband’s proposal in his conference speech in 2013. At the time they condemned it as “Marxist” but now, four years later, they are flattering him by imitation. In the briefing notes for journalists on Ms May’s speech, the Tory Party insisted in bold text: “It is not the same as Ed Miliband’s price freeze.”
Independent 22nd Oct 2017 read more »