UK Ministers Consider Radical Price Controls On Big Six Energy Firms

  • Date: 24/09/16
  • Steve Hawkes, The Sun

Ministers are considering radical plans to slap a wave of price controls on Big Six energy giants in an unprecedented shake up of the power market.

The Sun can reveal Consumer Minister Margot James met with consumer groups and charities at a London summit to discuss options to protect millions of hard-up families.

Senior sources claim they go far beyond proposals tabled by regulators at the start of August.

Then, the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) suggested a price cap for vulnerable customers on pre-payment meters.

But the new options being considered would look to extend the cap to other households on low-income, pension credit or ‘cold weather’ benefits for as long as two-years.

Critically, industry experts are also pushing Theresa May’s Government to force gas and electricity giants to automatically put customers on cheaper deals if they haven’t switched for a set period of years.

A further proposal would see the Government limit price hikes customers face when cheaper fixed-price deals end.

Currently customers face “stealth” increases of as much as 50 per cent or £340 when dumped on a standard variable rate by the Big Six.

One source told the Sun: “There’s a real appetite to do something within Government.

“And there’s recognition, even from the regulator, that the CMA proposals in August will do little to fix the problem.

“We’ve been left with something that is unlikely to change much of the Big Six’s behaviour.”

Such a radical move by a Tory Government would threaten to completely outflank Labour – and help Theresa May deliver on her pledge in July to help “ordinary working class families”.

Insiders claim energy is likely to be a big part of the PM’s social reform package at the upcoming Tory party conference.

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