A cap on household energy bills is set to be included in the Conservative manifesto, a cabinet minister has said. According to the Sunday Times the plans could cut gas and electricity costs by £100 a year for 17 million families. Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green told ITV people felt “taken advantage of” by energy firms. Labour said the plan should be taken with “a pinch of salt”, while price comparison company uSwitch said it would “do more harm than good”. The wider energy industry has reacted with scepticism to the plan, saying a price cap could have a negative impact on competition and lead to higher prices.
BBC 23rd April 2017 read more »
The energy industry has accused the Conservatives of “giving up on competition” by proposing to cap fuel bills. Damian Green, the work and pensions secretary, said yesterday that a future Tory government would cap energy prices in a move that ministers believe could cut households bills by £100. The party said that the 20 million households on standard variable rate tariffs would benefit. The announcement comes only a year after the Competition and Markets Authority drew back from proposing a fully fledged price cap, instead recommending price controls for customers with pre-payment meters. Theresa May said last month that the market was failing. “Relying on switching alone to keep prices down is not working,” she said.
Times 24th April 2017 read more »
FT 23rd April 2017 read more »
It’s not what you know but who you know. To prove the aphorism, compare the response to Theresa May’s promise to cap energy bills, and the furore over Ed Miliband’s pledge to do something very similar four years ago. When the former Labour leader called for a 20-month price freeze in the face of rising gas and electricity costs, he was ridiculed. “Back to the bad old days,” screamed the Daily Mail front page in September 2013. But when the Mail, edited by Paul Dacre, a May supporter, reported earlier this month on Tory plans to take action on bills in the face of the latest rise by one of the big six energy companies, such statist intervention had become a “crackdown on energy rip-offs”. The Telegraph said prices would go up before Miliband’s freeze, while the Times and the Sun warned the “lurch to the left” risked blackouts. The Times’s editorial described his plan as “flawed in practically every detail”. On Sunday, the Sunday Times welcomed May’s price cap as an “attempt to capture the political centre ground”. The hypocrisy is not lost on the Labour MP, who tweeted: “Where were these people for last four years since I proposed cap? Defending a broken energy market that ripped people off. Let’s see small print.” As well as powerful media allies, May also has luck on her side. Miliband’s eye-catching pledge came a few months before wholesale energy prices began a two-year slide, rendering the idea irrelevant.
Guardian 23rd April 2017 read more »