The government’s planned cap on energy bills should be introduced urgently, to stop customers from being overcharged, a report from MPs says. Competition was not working and had failed to deliver fair prices for consumers, a select committee said. The committee said it was “underwhelmed by the feeble steps” taken by energy companies to avoid government action. The cap should be temporary and fixed at an “absolute” level, rather than set relative to other tariffs. Legislation should be passed before the summer recess, the report suggested, which should allow the cap to be in place before the end of the year.
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Britain’s “big six” energy companies only have themselves to blame for the government having to intervene to cap household electricity and gas bills, MPs said on Tuesday. Plans for an absolute price cap on household energy bills must be introduced urgently to protect customers next winter, MPs from the business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) select committee said in a report. Ofgem, the market regulator, had also been “too slow and reluctant” to step in and use its powers to protect customer interests. There also was a “clear lack of will” on the part of major suppliers to address the pricing problems, MPs said. “The big six energy companies might whine and wail about the introduction of a price cap but they’ve been overcharging their customers on default and standard variable tariffs for years and their recent feeble efforts to move consumers off these tariffs has only served to highlight the need for this intervention,” said Rachel Reeves, MP and committee chair.
FT 13th Feb 2018 read more »