Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

18 Million Households to Be Helped by Fuel Cap

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

18 Million Households to Be Helped by Fuel Cap

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor

AROUND 18 million households will benefit from a cap on fuel bills to be introduced by the government. Ministers published legislation to impose a cap on "standard variable tariffs" and similar deals. Firms have been accused of offering discounts for new customers but then moving them onto the standard tariff, which can be far more expensive.

And two-thirds of energy consumers in Great Britain, 18 million customer accounts, are currently on this type of tariff.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "I have been clear that our broken energy market has to change - it has to offer fairer prices for millions of loyal customers who have been paying hundreds of pounds too much."

But Labour attacked the government for failing to introduce the legislation sooner, and pointed out that it has come too late to be in force this winter.

Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, a Shadow Business Minister, said: "Theresa May promised to introduce an energy price cap that would help 17 million consumers.

"After months of dithering and arguing back and forwards with Ofcom we have the prospect of energy price controls which won't actually help anyone this winter.

"It is too little, too late. A Labour government would immediately introduce an emergency price cap while we transition to a fairer system for bill payers."

The government has published the Draft Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill, which will be scrutinised by the Commons' Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee. It will then need to be approved by Parliament.

In the meantime, fuel charges are to be capped for five million households on standard variable tariffs this winter. They include four million with pre-payment meters at home, who tend to be people on the lowest incomes, and a million households which receive the warm home discount, a payment for people on certain benefits.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that customers of the Big Six energy suppliers on standard variable and default tariffs are paying PS1. …

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