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British PM May vows energy price cap if re-elected

British PM May vows energy price cap if re-elected”

The move has already attracted fierce criticism from Labour, which proposed to freeze energy prices in the lead-up to the 2015 General Election.

In the run-up to the 2017 UK General Election, Theresa May has promised to impose a cap on standard variable power tariffs in the Tory manifesto to end what she calls the "injustice" of rising energy costs.

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".

The energy industry was sent reeling after the Tories first confirmed the price cap plans last month and shares in energy groups fell again on Tuesday, with Centrica and SSE in the red. Their plans for a cap on price hikes were lambasted at the time by the Conservatives who accused the then Labour leader Ed Miliband of wanting to live in a "Marxist universe".

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"With a cap it would be very hard for the "Big Six" to generate the kind of profits they have been able to". The research found that consumers pay over the odds by a staggering £1.4 billion a year.

"Administering the price cap therefore risks being tantamount to signing off bill increases for the industry", said Cornwall Energy. These more passive consumers remain on standard tariffs with one of the "Big Six" energy suppliers, including 80 per cent of Britain's elderly, disabled and low income households.

"Like millions of working families, I am fed up with rip-off energy prices", she wrote in the Sun newspaper, the country's biggest selling title.

The Tories said the cap will be set by energy regulator Ofgem, and follows the cap on prices for customers with pre-payment meters, which was introduced in April. "Unlike the Tories' half-baked cap which only deals with some people, Labour policies will help people on every tariff", a spokesman said.

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"Evidence from other countries would suggest this will lead to reduced competition and choice, and potentially higher average prices", it said.

She responded: "I don't think any government can ever promise that no bill is going to go up year on year. A cap suggests a maximum amount that can be charged, not a promise that bills won't go up year on year".

Iain Conn, Chief Executive of Centrica, the owner of British Gas, attacked the proposal, saying that there are 'some at the heart of the government who just don't believe in free markets'.

Even consumer groups are anxious that consumers will become less bothered trying to find a good deal if they think the government is doing it for them.

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Which? said measures that significantly reduce the cost of bills overnight will be welcomed "but this can not result in an increase in bills overall, undermine improvements in service or bring much-needed innovation to a halt".



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