• Household energy bills and price increases

    Household energy bills and price increases is an important issue. I have long supported a cap on energy price rises and believe we should go even further to lower bills. Since 2010, household energy bills have increased by 9.2% in real terms, while this year all of the “big six” energy companies have announced dramatic increases to household energy prices. I do not believe such increases are justifiable. Last year, the Competition and Markets Authority concluded an investigation into the energy market. It found that 70% of big six customers are on expensive default standard variable tariffs and that households had been paying £1.4 billion a year more for energy than they would have if the market was working properly. For too long the big six energy companies have been allowed to make excessive profits. It is clear that the market is broken and is no longer doing its best for customers – many people do not have time to shop around, but just want reliable and affordable energy. While the Government has said that it will act to deal with energy price rises, I am concerned that it has yet to take effective action. During the June 2017 General Election, the Prime Minister pledged to introduce a cap on energy bills that would save 17 million households up to £100 a year. However, the energy regulator Ofgem is considering a safeguard tariff that would only benefit around two million energy customers. I believe we must go further. The Government must legislate for a price cap. If a price cap to ensure that the average dual-fuel household energy bill remains below £1,000 per year had been in place since 2010, it would have saved the average consumer £1,149 so far and a further £142 per year in future. At the June 2017 General Election, I stood on a manifesto that promised to introduce such a cap, while we move to a fairer system for bill payers. I also committed to bringing energy back into public ownership, to make it more affordable and accountable to local communities. I can therefore assure you that I will continue to push for further action to ensure fair energy bills.