Theresa May has said that she wants to cap tariffs for all 12 million households on poor value standard tariffs Andrew Milligan PA
13 October, 2017, 04:05
Mrs May appeared to U-turn on her manifesto promise to cap energy bills when the plan did not appear in her Queen's speech after the disastrous general election. Ofgem has also changed the rules to allow suppliers to default customers on to another fixed deal.
Ofgem said it will work with the government to ensure that those on standard variable and other default tariffs receive price protection as soon as possible "if legislation is in place".
The cap is not expected to take effect until winter 2018/19 at the earliest.
Business and energy secretary Greg Clark adds: "People who show loyalty to well-known brands are paying hundreds of pounds a year too much on standard variable tariffs and I am determined that this practice should end". However, the regulator would start capping bills five months after the bill became law.
Ofgem, the energy regulator, has already capped bills for those on pre-payment meters and yesterday announced that it will extend the cap to 1million more vulnerable households this Winter. This is created to build cross-party consensus on how the price cap will work.
However John Penrose, a Tory MP and former minister, told The Telegraph: "A temporary relative price cap puts the customer in charge, so energy firms compete to offer the best, most creative and attractive deals".
Today Ofgem said it will work with the Government on these plans to make sure those on SVTs and default deals are protected. Customers are still likely to be better off by searching and switching themselves. "The ball in some senses is in your court - do more", he said.
Dermot Nolan, chief executive of the energy regulator Ofgem, gave a less-than-ringing endorsement of Theresa May's flagship price-caps plan this morning.
Today's move by Ofgem stops short of rolling out a wider price cap, as suggested by the Prime Minister last week.
They argue intervention in the market does not promote competition.
It would be a fitting end to a tortuous tale if price caps for standard variable tariffs were introduced in a year's time - only for those tariffs to have melted away in the meantime.
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