Member Article

Will ?best energy deal? be all it seems?

Yesterday, amid the latest set of price hikes by British energy providers, Prime Minister David Cameron said that he would make it compulsory for these firms to automatically put customers on their cheapest tariffs.

As with many things said in Prime Minister’s Questions, it’s usually best to await clarification before getting too carried away – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Hyperbole is commonplace on a Wednesday afternoon.

Whilst this morning’s statement by Energy Minister John Hayes has not confirmed the PM’s pledge, neither was it rejected.

He did confirm, however, that any proposed legislation would first be discussed within the industry and debated in the House of Commons, echoing the news that the main energy firms knew nothing of the plan prior to its being announced.

Labour has called the policy a “chaos”. We’ll wait and see. We have frequently called for the biggest energy firms to be held to account for effectively holding customers to ransom. Theoretically, this is a step in the right direction.

Nevertheless, it certainly does beg the question “why wasn’t this done sooner?” David Cameron was quick to point out that Labour didn’t take this step in 13 years in power. It is also worth mentioning that the average annual bill has risen by around £200 under the Coalition; if reducing the cost of living was such a priority to Mr Cameron, would the PM not have acted sooner?

With this morning’s statement suggesting any legislation will be to “stabilise consumer prices”, simplify tariffs and make the market more competitive, we won’t quite be holding our breath any time soon.

Let’s hope that this is fully followed through and not just being said to curry favour with the electorate. If the pledge is delivered as promised, this could be the Coalition’s best move to date.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by MyMoneyPA .

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