British PM May vows energy price cap if re-elected

May vows to cap energy bill increases if Tories win election

The Confederation of British Industry said Theresa May's plans for an energy price cap would lead to "unintended consequences".

Mrs May insisted her plan was different from the energy freeze proposed by Labour in 2015, which led Mr Cameron to accuse Mr Miliband of wanting to live in a "Marxist universe".

Policy Director at Greenpeace UK, Doug Parr said: "It has always been accepted that better energy efficiency is the cheapest way to cut bills, yet programmes to make homes warmer and healthier have fallen to their lowest levels in many years under Conservative Prime Ministers".

Miliband, meanwhile, promised "your bills will not rise, it will benefit millions of families and millions of businesses" when he said a Labour government would freeze gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017.

Ed Davey, the former Lib Dem energy secretary, told Sky News the Conservatives' policy could actually make costs rise for some Britons.

Proactive consumers shop around on comparison sites for an advantageous energy deal, but two-thirds of consumers have not changed supplier in the last three years, according to research by both Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). First of all, we are Conservatives. Ed Miliband suggested a freeze on energy prices which would have frozen them so that people paying above the odds would have continued paying above the odds, and crucially the prices would not have gone down.

Elderly people, poor and disabled people are among those less likely to switch providers and therefore find themselves on overpriced rates as a result, which in turns boosts the providers' coffers.

GETTYHomes can save £300 with the best energy deals
GETTYHomes can save £300 with the best energy deals

"The CMA's thorough two-year investigation identified low levels of consumers switching energy providers as a challenge, and put forward a range of recommendations to address this", Hardie said.

Reaction to the policy has been mixed - with the trade association for the industry, Energy UK, warning such intervention could affect competition in the marketplace and undermine "positive changes" being made to improve choice and customer service. "Further intervention risks undermining so numerous positive changes we are seeing in the market which are delivering benefits for consumers", he said.

If standard variable tariffs milk customers, the picture for consumers on pre-paid energy meters is not much rosier.

May has also suggested that this move could save about 17 million customers up to £100 a year. "With the Conservatives nearly certain to win a majority, it's highly likely the pledge will be carried out", he said.

Under the new proposal by the Conservatives, industry regulator Ofgem would set a cap for the default standard variable tariffs.

"This policy from the Conservatives, just as the policy from Ed Miliband, will not work".

"Well, I can take a consumer onto a price competition website today and I could save them much, much more than that".

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