Energy companies forced to offer cheapest tariffPrime Minister makes a bold promise for consumers

17 October 2012

Houses of Parliament

During Prime Minister's questions earlier today David Cameron promised consumers that energy companies would be forced to offer the lowest tariff to their customers.

The Prime Minister said: 'I can announce that we will be legislating so that energy companies have to give the lowest tariff to their customers.'

Cheapest energy tariffs for all customers

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd called the announcement a 'big statement' and a sign that the Prime Minister 'acknowledges that competition in the energy retail market has failed'.

He added: 'This is a big moment for consumers, but we must now see these words turned into action and see the detail from the government in the Energy Bill.'

Words must become action

Earlier today Which? sent a letter to the Prime Minister asking for an urgent, expert, independent review of the energy market.  

In the last week British Gas, Scottish Power and Npower have all increased their customers' energy costs, and SSE has implemented its cost increase announced in the summer.

With the average energy bill already rising 13% since last year, consumers tell us that energy prices are one of their top financial concerns.

Keep energy prices in check

A number of companies have suggested their price rises are the result of wholesale increases, government policies and environmental schemes impacting on their costs. With a lack of transparency in the energy market it's virtually impossible to get accurate calculations of these costs. 

Richard Lloyd said: 'The energy companies blame wholesale price increases but even the regulator has found that prices don't fall when the wholesale price drops. The sector is dominated by a handful of big and powerful players who are seemingly unaffected by the normal competitive pressure of price and customer service.'

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