As winter approaches, an increasing number of constituents have been in touch with me about household energy bills and price increases. 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 also announced dramatic increases. In my view, such large increases cannot be justified.
An investigation into the energy market conducted by the Competition and Markets Authority last year, found that 70% of big six customers are on expensive default standard variable tariffs. It also revealed that households had been paying £1.4 billion a year more for energy than they would have if the market was operating responsibly.
The big six energy companies have been exploiting customers in pursuit of generating excessive profits for too long. The market is clearly failing, whilst all people want, and deserve, is reliable and affordable energy.
During the past election the Prime Minister pledged to introduce a cap on energy bills that would save 17 million households up to £100 a year. However, it has yet to act on this and it remains unclear when and how it will do so. After months of uncertainty, we need action. The Government must legislate for a price cap.
At the General Election, I stood on a manifesto that promised to introduce a cap to ensure that the average dual-fuel household energy bill remains below £1,000 per year, while we move to a fairer system for bill payers. If such a cap 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. 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.