Today could mark the end of the great energy rip-off.
The Government has drafted a bill to push forward a price cap, protecting millions of customers from overpriced standard variable deals. These are the prices that customers pay when their fixed deal comes to an end, and can be £300 more per year than the cheapest available deal.
Millions of people have been paying too much, for too long, simply to keep their families warm.
And the energy market has been broken for too long.
This intervention is needed - to put money back in customers’ pockets, and put people over profiteering. It’s now up to Ofgem to set the cap at a rate that is reasonable and fair. I just hope they can do this quickly.
Critics have questioned whether a cap would affect competition. But September’s switching figures showed the highest level of switching from the Big Six to smaller independents. Engaged customers will continue to switch, just not to the Big Six. They will switch to those energy companies giving them a fairer deal.
We were set up by Bristol City Council to do just that: to save people money on their bills, and to prioritise fairness. We’ve always kept our standard variable tariff low, and it’s only used by a very small percentage of our customers. We’re now looking at ways to roll on to our best deals.
Price regulation shouldn’t need to be long term. But it should galvanise other suppliers to start treating people fairly. And I’d like to think our voice in the market, as a publicly-owned energy company, has encouraged this action.
We look forward to seeing feedback on the bill, and the next steps taken by Ofgem.
- Peter Haigh