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Energy bill cap to be considered by Ofgem

03 Juillet 2017

An energy price cap is likely to be introduced for only two million more households after Theresa May's pledge to limit bills for 17 million families was ditched.

In a statement, Ofgem said options being considered include introducing a safeguard tariff for vulnerable consumers which would protect them from overpaying for their energy.

Chief executive of Ofgem, Dermot Nolan, explained the safeguard tariff would be aimed at "vulnerable customers" and protecting vulnerable consumers is a priority.

Ofgem said around five million people used price comparison websites to search for energy deals past year, but less than half of those people actually went on to switch.

The regulator said it will speak to consumer groups later this month to discuss how it could extend the pre-payment meter cap to other households.

It comes after a temporary price cap to protect over four million households who prepay for their energy came into effect in March. The cap will come in the form of a "safeguard tariff", Ofgem said.

Last year, a landmark investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority concluded that many households on standard variable tariffs were overpaying by up to £1.2bn a year.

The regulator said it is also testing whether writing to customers - including people who are vulnerable and not online - about cheaper offers from rival providers prompting them to look around for a cheaper tariff and switch.

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A £150 price cap for pre-payment meter installation, with these charges banned altogether for the most vulnerable in society.

The regulator will also trial a "Check Your Energy Deal" online switching service to help customers who have been on poor value standard variable tariffs for three years or more to find cheaper deals.

'We are pressing ahead with a raft of reforms to make it even easier for people to switch no matter how they choose to shop around'.

I now want to see this translated into action with suppliers playing their part in supporting Ofgem to deliver a fairer deal to customers on poor value tariffs.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said: 'Ofgem's watered down proposals go nowhere near the promise made by the Prime Minister to adopt Labour's principle of a price cap.

Such a move would have shaved £100 annually from those bills per customer.

However, Which? said that while more protections and easier switching were good, "people will question whether these interventions are enough to deliver an energy market that finally works for all consumers".

Energy bill cap to be considered by Ofgem