Would price cap pledged by Tories result in lower energy bills?

Posted May 10, 2017

Stephen Murray, energy expert at price comparison website MoneySuperMarket, says: "For customers who have the ability to switch - the majority outside the most vulnerable - an energy price cap would be a disaster... it will lead to numerous best deals disappearing, prices finding a higher level and a growing market of disengaged customers".

Here's what key Tory figures have previously said about Miliband's plan to freeze energy prices.

Theresa May says she is "fed up with rip-off energy prices" and will cap bill increases if the Conservatives win the next election.

Energy bills have doubled in Britain over the past decade to about 1,200 pounds ($1,553.40) a year, angering consumers who face rising inflation, and drawing the ire of politicians ahead of a June 8 national election.

For the Liberal Democrats, former energy secretary Sir Ed Davey said: "It is never a good idea to copy the economic strategy of Ed Miliband".

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Justifying the move, the Conservatives pointed to a report a year ago by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which found 70% of domestic customers of the "Big Six" energy companies were on SVTs.

She also refused to rule out future tax hikes, saying it was not her intention to increase the level of tax but she was "not going to make any tax commitments that we are not absolutely sure we can keep".

Theresa May has decided that an energy cap fits her political objective and has confirmed she will wear it into this election campaign.

"Ed Miliband suggested a freeze on energy prices that would have frozen them so that people paying above the odds would have continued to pay above the odds and crucially the prices couldn't have gone down".

"Instead of bringing in a price cap, the Government should spend some money raising awareness of switching and leave the mechanics of an increasingly vibrant and competitive market well alone". However, Conn said Centrica's United Kingdom energy supply business makes up only a quarter of its operating cashflow.

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She told Sky News: "With about two-thirds of consumers sitting on the expensive standard variable tariffs the Tories are talking about, there are big savings to be made by making a whole of market comparison".

"With a cap it would be very hard for the Big Six to generate the kind of profits they have been able to".

Under the new proposal by the Conservatives, industry regulator Ofgem would set a cap for the default standard variable tariffs. "With the Conservatives nearly certain to win a majority, it's highly likely the pledge will be carried out", he said.

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

In the first major policy announcement of the Conservative campaign, the Prime Minister said her Government would limit the standard tariffs paid by seven in ten families.

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