Labour proposes another “overhaul” of energy market

The Labour Party today criticised the Tory-led Government’s “business as usual” attitude to shaking up the electricity sector and said it would deliver “real” energy market reform for the good […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The Labour Party today criticised the Tory-led Government’s “business as usual” attitude to shaking up the electricity sector and said it would deliver “real” energy market reform for the good of householders.

In a policy review released ahead of Labour’s Opposition Day session in the House of Commons this afternoon, the party set out how it would “overhaul” the market if it were in the driving seat.

The party says it would abolish Ofgem and create a “tough new energy watchdog” with the power to force energy companies to pass on price cuts when wholesale costs fall.

Labour would require energy companies to pool the power they generate and to make it available to any retailer, to open up the market and make it more transparent.

In an appeal to pensioners, the party also says it would require energy firms to put all over-75s on their cheapest tariff, which could apparently “save as many as four million pensioners as much as £200 a year” on their yearly energy bills.

Caroline Flint, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary said: “The time has come for a complete overhaul of our energy market and Labour is the party with the ideas and strength to meet the massive challenges facing the country.

“Families struggling with soaring energy bills and facing more price rises this winter deserve better than this shambolic Government and clueless Prime Minister. We need a One Nation government to break the dominance of the energy giants, protect vulnerable customers from being ripped off and create a tough new energy regulator with the power to force energy companies to pass on savings to consumers.”

Angela Knight, Chief Executive of trade body Energy UK responded by admitting there are “difficult challenges ahead” but she emphasised: “All the energy firms take their responsibilities to the less well-off very seriously… spending £275 million this year on help for customers in difficulty, especially the elderly and people on certain benefits”.