Barry Gardiner

Working Hard for Brent North

Barry on rip-off energy bills

Barry Gardiner MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy Secretary responding to Ofgem’s announcement to implement some of the Competition Market Authority’s recommendations to reduce energy bills said:

“The Tories have sat back and done nothing while OFGEM is failing in its duty as the regulator. Instead of protecting the public, they have been craven and have allowed energy companies to fleece bill payers by overcharging customers £1.4 billion a year for the last five years.

“I challenge Ofgem's Chief Executive, Dermot Nolan, to name any other purchase where consumers are being swindled out of £1.9million a day and the regulator turns round and says it's the customers fault. They should switch to another supplier. This is not regulation, it is aiding and abetting the offender.

“The CMA report was a critical opportunity to fix a broken energy market. OFGEM have bottled it. Dermot Nolan must explain why they are not forcing companies to pass on the drop in wholesale energy prices to consumers.”

Ends

Notes to editors

  • Around 70% of domestic customers of the ‘Big 6’ energy firms are still on an expensive standard variable tariff and are being over charged.
  • In 2012, David Cameron promised MPs he would put all consumers onto the cheapest tariff – a broken promise.
    • Twelve energy providers have pulled fixed-rate dual-fuel tariffs and replaced them with more expensive deals since the referendum, according to comparison website uSwitch.
    • Pre-pay customers, who are often particularly vulnerable, are getting the worst deal of all and are usually unable to switch. A price cap for them is welcome, but we want to see energy prices fall for all customers, not just a price cap for some.
  • Labour believes pre-pay meter customers should be the first to benefit from new smart meters which should allow more accurate billing and easier switching, but in the meantime we should abolish pre-pay charges altogether and stop landlords from forcing tenants onto these rip off pre-pay meters

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