Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:06 pm on 6th March 2018.

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Photo of Antoinette Sandbach Antoinette Sandbach Conservative, Eddisbury 5:06 pm, 6th March 2018

We have seen that the cap works for the vulnerable customers who have had their energy prices capped. Although some have gone on to less advantageous tariffs, most have benefited, as shown in the evidence received by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee. I agree with others that smart meters will revolutionise how we deal with not only energy, but perhaps other services. The cap is a temporary measure and is only needed as one. I add my voice to the others who called on the Government to ensure that loopholes on green tariffs are not used to game the legislation. The Bill has expanded the exemptions to include the safeguard tariff and those explicitly chosen by consumers, and the Government have strengthened the language relating to green tariffs.

I, too, call on Ofgem to act. I am afraid that I do not take the view that we needed this legislation. I would argue that Ofgem had the right to protect consumers without it, but I welcome the fact that the Government are acting to ensure that we address the clear problems in the market, particularly predatory pricing. This is about getting access to tariffs and the switching mechanism for those who need it. We should encourage those people and reach out to them, whether through Citizens Advice or how they sign on for their benefits. We clearly need to enable data sharing, so that energy companies can quickly identify vulnerable customers.