Energy Bills: Cameron Promises New Laws
Energy firms will be forced to give customers the cheapest available tariff under new laws, David Cameron has announced.
Amid mounting concern about the soaring cost of power, the Prime Minister vowed to legislate to tackle the often-confusing array of prices.
"I can announce that we will be legislating so that energy companies have to give the lowest tariff to their customers," he told MPs during Prime Minister's Questions.
His intervention follows a string of above-inflation price hikes by major energy companies in recent days.
Ministers have previously encouraged customers to shop around to make sure they have the best deal.
They have also announced moves to require energy companies to inform their customers if they could be on cheaper tariffs.
But the forthcoming Energy Bill will go further by introducing a requirement for companies to give people the best tariff for their circumstances.
The announcement came after consumer body Which? called for an urgent independent review into the rising cost of household energy bills.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said the energy market was "broken".
A review was needed to look at rising prices and whether competition between suppliers could be made to work more effectively to help consumers, he insisted.
With the average bill up 13% since a Government energy summit a year ago, "it is no wonder consumers tell us that energy prices are one of their top financial concerns," he said.
He claimed there was little evidence that the Government was living up to its promise to make energy companies more competitive, with 75% of consumers on the most expensive tariff, and the numbers switching suppliers continuing to decline.
Mr Lloyd said people were questioning whether they were being fairly charged for gas and electricity, as companies blamed wholesale price rises and the cost of implementing environmental and social policies for bill increases.
He added: "The time for action is now. Warm words alone are not enough to keep consumers from the cold this winter."
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "Households facing rising energy bills this winter aren't going to be helped by more inquiries or investigations that could take years to complete and implement.
"We know what the problems are, we want to get on with tackling them now. We're focusing on action, not more words.
"The fact is reforms by Government and Ofgem, including electricity market reform through the forthcoming Energy Bill and Ofgem's ongoing Retail Market Review, offer the quickest way to boost consumer confidence in the energy market."
Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said: "Which? are right to say that Britain's energy market is not working in the public interest.
"For too long energy companies have been able to get away with blaming wholesale prices when bills go up, but failing to pass on savings when wholesale prices fall."
what do you think?
Yep thats just what we need another time wasting enquirey to tell us what we already know.
Russell. Thats what govt's do. Set up a committee and have an enquiry. That way they don't have to do anything about it until the committee reports
some wasters will have a chat about it over coffee and biscuits at our expence and do nothing about it .
Do the energy cartel pay tax or are they working the Starbucks scam as well?
Are any MPs "advisors" to the energy cartel?
the goverment should put the energy company's back into state owned it only made share holders bosses rich beong private owned they only care about profit rip off prices NOT PPL we should all stop paying till they do ?
This was all said last year. They never should have been sold off in the first place and now we have no choice but to pay it. Whoever sold of gas from the North Sea to other countries previously and left us relying on Europe was really not in it for long term forecasting. We are stuck with it.
If gas had not been sold then we would simply have borrowed more?
Don't forget that also government policy puts up bills. All those people jumping on the 'feed in tariffs' scam get their money fom You, the bill payer! Every time you see a neighbours roof filling up with 'photo voltaics' ie (PV panels) remember who is paying as they rub their hands together with glee.
you voted for it in the 80s
give me the 70s back
Thatchers legacy for us all and im thinking she wont be going cold this winter
New laws with no teeth lets face it we have to buy everything in because we sold everything to foreigners
What an absolute waste of time.....Even a Monkey can work out that all the energy companies will do is end up putting up the price of their lowest tarriff!!! I am certainly fed up with hearing them bleat on about how they need money for future investment......Now forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what the darn shareholders are for!!!!...Well at least that's what my bank manager tells me when I need extra money for investment in my business!! They seem to want it both ways... Charge us for future investment, whilst at the same time give the greedy shareholders their expected share of a whacking great profit!! Something very wrong if you ask me....
Tinkering around the edges will do nothing, take energy back into public ownership and run it for the benefit of the people not as a cash cow for fat cats and shareholders after all we are talking about the basics for life not some commodity we can take or leave.
Windows Live User
Best intentions and all that, but if the energy companies are forced to put everyone on the cheapest tariffs then the energy companies will just increase the cost of the all the tariffs to make up the profit they would otherwise lose. ALSO The Govt. is forcing energy companies to pay for Energy efficiency upgrades to property via various different schemes on one hand and then asking them to reconsider price rises on the other, someone has to pay for this and it wont be the govt or the energy companies.
There shouldn't be different tariffs for the same product one simple price for ALL
Windows Live User
While Cameron is legislating on gas he should also legislate on temperatures in Govt offices,buildings etc., where everyone swans about in shirt sleeves and thin tops. Why isnt the temp control turned down and people can wear a pullover to work? Gas is supposed to be in short supply now you know! Why should we shiver in our homes while the Govt burns up all the gas, paid for by our taxes?
Put your trust in the Lib/Lab/Cons, they`ll never let you down, have they ever ?
Paragraphs 6 and 7 of that report were promised to be implemented after the last energy hike and this is the first we've heard since the first hollow promise........I believe why there is so many tariffs is to fractionalise the opposition to the high prices, people who think they've got a good tariff will not oppose ,only people who cant access the better rates realise their high tariffs are paying for the ones who can. The Gov.do not want one rate which would be higher are fearful of a united front against exhorbiant prices. They know if energy prices become an election issue they are out .Remember all this come the next 2 years
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In 30 years time when most of us will be pushing up daisies.