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 Alan Whitehead Alan Whitehead Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change) 3:36 pm, 3rd July 2017

I thank the Minister for his response. Does he recall that during the election his party placed the promise of an overall cap on energy prices at the centre of its manifesto? Indeed, does he recall the Prime Minister stating:

“I am making this promise: if I am re-elected on 8 June, I will take action to end this injustice by introducing a cap on unfair energy price rises. It will protect around 17 million families on standard variable tariffs from being exploited with sudden and unjustified increases in bills”?

Does the Secretary of State accept that Ofgem’s response to his letter of 21 June on energy prices falls far short of implementing that promise and that, although there are welcome suggestions on safeguarding tariffs and capping warrant charges for the installation of pre-pay meters, those measures would affect only 2.5 million customers, leaving more than 14 million SVT customers completely unprotected from price rises over the next period? Will he confirm that his letter did not ask Ofgem to consider introducing a general price cap? Will he tell the House why it did not, even though the chief executive officer of Ofgem confirmed earlier this year that it would have the discretionary power to implement an energy price cap?

Does the Secretary of State intend to pass legislation to require Ofgem to introduce a price cap, or is he now content to let his firm election promise of a cap fall by the wayside? If so, what does he have to say to the 17 million people on standard variable tariffs who thought that relief from rip-off price rises was on its way but will now feel completely betrayed by this policy U-turn?