The owner of British Gas has issued a rallying call to the industry as it prepares to challenge the impending cap on energy bills. Centrica has contacted rivals via Citizens Advice and the trade association Energy UK to notify them of the legal move and inviting them to join in, raising the prospect of a wider attack on the way the energy cap has been set. From January 1, default tariffs will be capped at £1,137 a year in an attempt to save households about £76 a year, following concerns that customers are being ripped off. Centrica has consistently opposed the cap, saying it will not benefit households and could cost the FTSE 100 business £70m in lost profits. Last week, it announced plans for a judicial review of the way in which Ofgem, the industry regulator, calculated wholesale costs when setting the cap. Bosses stressed: “Through this action Centrica has no intention to delay implementation of the cap, and does not expect the cap to be deferred in any way.” There is mounting concern among large suppliers over the impact of the cap. Last week SSE and Npower said it was partly to blame for the failure of a planned merger of their retail energy units. The presence of others in Centrica’s case would not change the legal arguments but could counter the perception that the company is striking out alone against consumers’ interests. Npower is reportedly broadly supportive of Centrica’s case.
Sunday Times 23rd Dec 2018 read more »