Shares in gas and electricity suppliers rose yesterday after two key pledges on the energy market were kicked into the long grass. The Queen’s Speech failed to include the Conservatives’ manifesto commitment to cap energy prices for the 17 million households languishing on expensive standard-rate tariffs. Before the election, Theresa May promised to intervene in the “broken” energy market by introducing a cap that would save some customers £100 a year. But yesterday the government made only a vague pledge to “tackle unfair practices to help reduce energy bills”. Greg Clark, the energy secretary, appeared to outsource the problem to Ofgem, the energy regulator, by asking it to “consider the future of standard variable tariffs” and report back. The government also delayed by five years the date by which every home should have a smart meter. The meters, which will allow customers better to understand their energy consumption, are considered by many to be the key to increasing switching. Pushing them back also reduces the likelihood of suppliers being fined for not introducing enough of the devices on time. About seven million smart meters have been fitted but every home was due to have one by 2020, which would have required an installation rate of more than 20,000 a day. Yesterday the government said it would extend the deadline to 2025. Shares in Centrica, the owner of British Gas, jumped more than 2 per cent while the value of SSE closed up almost 1 per cent.
Times 22nd June 2017 read more »