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Energy Price Cap

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:36 pm on 3rd July 2017.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 3:36 pm, 3rd July 2017

Following a two-year inquiry, the Competition and Markets Authority found that energy customers on standard variable tariffs were paying on average £1.4 billion a year more than would be the case in a competitive market. That is completely unacceptable, so my party’s manifesto committed to introduce a safeguard tariff to extend the price protection currently in place for some vulnerable customers—those on pre-payment meters—to more customers on the poorest-value tariffs. The energy regulator, Ofgem, has the powers necessary to impose such a price cap without delay, and I wrote to its chief executive on 21 June to ask it to use its powers to do so. Today, the regulator has replied and announced that it will work with consumer groups to take measures, including extending the current safeguard tariff for those on pre-payment meters to a wider group of consumers, and move urgently to implement these changes.

I welcome this initial proposal—it is a step in the right direction—but I will wait to see the actual proposals turned into action to cut bills, as the test of whether the regulator’s changes go far enough is whether they move sufficiently to eradicate the detriment to consumers that the CMA identified. I remain prepared to legislate if they do not, and I hope that such legislation would command wide support across the House.