May vows to cap energy bill increases if Tories win election

Theresa May has announced plans to cap standard variable tariffs in the new Tory manifesto after acknowledging that vulnerable people can be affected by the "rip-off bills".

But Mrs May remains undeterred, and the proposal will be included in the Conservative manifesto.

Theresa May's party has pledged to limit the amount energy giants can charge customers for their electricity and gas bills, ahead of the General Election.

Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital said recent 10% price rises by energy companies who thought a general election was still three years away had backfired.

It's a striking departure for a Conservative Party that branded Ed Miliband's attempt to intervene in the energy markets in 2013 a "dangerous idea".

"The lack of competition, the market power that they have, has led to inefficiency in these energy companies", he told BBC Radio. Unlike Mr Miliband's freeze, which would stop prices falling, her plan would see an independent regulator set maximum prices, reflecting market conditions.

"Ed Miliband didn't suggest a cap on energy prices".

"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".

"Labour is offering a real choice, a real alternative to the rigged system holding us back and to the Conservatives who are running our country down. Under our cap the prices will be able to go down".

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".

Mr Clark said that the Competition and Markets Authority had found that the market was not sufficient competitive.

The industry's lobby group, Energy UK, said further state intervention would undermine changes the industry is making. "Further intervention risks undermining so numerous positive changes we are seeing in the market which are delivering benefits for consumers", he said. The big six will find other cost savings, like in infrastructure investment, to maintain profit rates. With the Conservatives nearly certain to win a majority, it's highly likely the pledge will be carried out.

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

According to data released by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) past year, 70% of customers of Britain's "Big Six" energy providers - British Gas owner Centrica, SSE, E.ON, EDF, Scottish Power and nPower - have failed to switch from the highest standard variable tariffs.

The Prime Minister said 17 million households will benefit from the cap on poor value standard variable tariffs (SVTs) as part of her drive to stand up for ordinary working families.

  • Tracy Klein