On Wednesday February 27. as British Gas reported a rise in profits of 11 per cent last year to £606m, with the news that the company had increased its prices even while profits continued to blossom.
At PMQs the Prime Minister said “We are legislating to make sure energy companies put people onto the lowest tariffs.”
The Energy Bill, which is still before parliament, gives the energy secretary the power to intervene and modify an energy company’s licence to make it reduce costs for customers.
It says the energy secretary can make the company give more information to customers, and force the company to limit the number of tariffs it offers.
Nowhere, however, does the Bill actually say that companies must place customers on the lowest tariffs – or face sanctions if they refuse.
So the government does have a new legal power to intervene, but the new bill won’t automatically force companies to move people on to lower rates.
Mark Todd, co-founder of energyhelpline.com, said “The Bill seems to give the government generic powers to change licences, but it doesn’t force companies to offer customers the cheapest tariffs.”
The Department for Energy and Climate Change when asked where in the Bill Mr Cameron’s claim that the government are legislating “to make sure energy companies put people on the lowest tariffs”, a spokeswoman told us: “It doesn’t specifically use that language. We have to take it on trust.
This clause is specifically to give the government powers, not to say what the company should do.”
You seem to be fated to see your energy costs increase while the Prime Minister flounders.
BOB MILTON, Leyland Road.