Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:26 pm on 6th March 2018.

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Photo of John Penrose John Penrose Conservative, Weston-Super-Mare 3:26 pm, 6th March 2018

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker; I will try to edit as I go.

Today is a great day. To those who say that politicians never deliver on their election promises, we can collectively send a blaring foghorn reply of “You’re wrong.” Today’s energy price cap Bill is an incredibly rare political unicorn: a pledge that not only has cross-party support, but is being fulfilled. As the organiser of the cross-party letter, which gathered an exceptional and unprecedented 213 MPs’ signatures, I thank my co-convenors, Caroline Flint and Patricia Gibson, for their help. I also thank every MP who signed the letter and the Ministers who have listened and brought its contents forward. Without their help, we would not be here today.

The Secretary of State has already ably described the problem. It is a two-tier market in which millions of customers are penalised for being loyal. Sneaky price hikes mean that people who have forgotten to switch are gouged on super-expensive rates to which they never agreed. Customers are being taken for granted and taken for a ride. So it is a great day, but in spite of all that we still have some pitfalls to step around. First, it is vital that the price cap is temporary. The long-term answer for most people is not an endless cap; it is making the customer king and putting them in the driving seat, so that the energy industry provides the same good-value and sensible deals that we take for granted in every other walk of life.