Energy bills: to cap or not to cap?

  Theresa May’s proposed price cap on energy bills was the talk of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this week. ELN spoke to a range of MPs, delegates and […]

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By Jonny Bairstow
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Theresa May’s proposed price cap on energy bills was the talk of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this week.

ELN spoke to a range of MPs, delegates and party members to gauge their reactions to the controversial policy, which is intended to make the energy market fairer by imposing an upper limit on prices paid by consumers.

Some argued this would be the case – others said the interventionist approach could damage competition and prices should be driven by new technologies and efficiency.

We spoke to former MP Edwina Currie, who disagreed with the proposed move. She said: “I think it’s always a mistake to start putting price caps on things, it gives people the idea that something can be subsidised in some kind of artificial and painless way, which it can’t.”

Energy Minister Claire Perry seemed to be in favour. She suggested: “We want the regulators who have the powers to look at this, we want to have a regulator that is tough, that can stand up to the companies and if not, I’m sure the Secretary of State will want to take action.”

Conservative backbench MP Jacob Rees-Mogg wasn’t so sure. He told ELN: “I’m not sure a price cap is the right answer. I think looking at the oligopolistic behaviour of the energy companies and indeed others is important because they behave poorly to their customers.”