I am calling on the UK Government to take more action on the cost of energy. This comes ahead of the Second Reading of the Domestic Gas and Electric (Tariff Cap) Bill.
This Bill has the central purpose of instituting an absolute cap on energy prices for domestic customers until at least 2020, with power to extend the cap until 2023. The cap is aimed particularly at those customers not switching and remaining on standard variable tariffs – the most expensive tariff available.
This cap will be decided by OFGEM – the market regulator for energy.
Although I support the principle of the Bill he is concerned it is too little too late. This winter and the past week in particular has been the coldest since records began. Because of the lack of action from the UK Government on this issue people have missed out on seeing their prices capped this winter. Moreover, we still do not have final details as to when a cap will be in place, the level of the cap nor by how much bills will be reduced.
Labour would immediately introduce an emergency price cap to ensure the average household energy bill remained below £1,000 a year, until we take our energy system back into public hands.
Currently, 12 million households are on exploitative Standard Variable Tariffs with vulnerable and low income customers being most affected.
Labour has long been calling for an energy price cap. We were derided by the UK Government but I am pleased to see that they have finally seen the benefit this policy will have for households. However, they seem to be introducing a watered down version of our policy and it will not benefit people to the same extent.
Another problem with this legislation is its impact on people who are not connected to mains gas. Many in Delyn use LPG or kerosene oil. I have been in contact with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy calling for action to be taken. People in our rural communities have seen the price of gas and oil rise sharply and I want to see them covered by a price cap as well.
If we could implement our policies people in the UK would save the average Big Six customers £142 per year and prevent price rises in the future. I will be scrutinising the Government’s Bill to ensure that it protects Delyn communities from the excessive energy price rises.