United Kingdom to cap energy prices from next winter

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The Prime Minister bowed to mounting pressure over the cost of gas and electricity bills and announced an energy cap during her disastrous conference speech in Manchester last week.

The bill will be published about mid-morning on Thursday, with the business secretary, Greg Clark, due to to make a statement in the House of Commons.

"An absolute cap would throttle competition, be out of date as soon as the wholesale price of gas goes up or down, and energy firms would spend more time lunching their regulators than delighting their customers".

Speaking ahead of the draft bill's publication, Mrs 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".

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The bill, which will need to be scrutinised by parliament before passing into law, proposes that caps would be applied to the standard variable tariffs offered by providers.

And, although there will still be some Britons who won't benefit from those future energy price caps this year, Ofgem has already committed to helping cut energy bills for an additional one million people this winter.

The legislative process could take as long as a year, and then a further five months for Ofgem to implement a cap. This is created to build cross-party consensus on how the price cap will work.

"We also expect suppliers to co-operate when Ofgem initially introduces a safeguard tariff for around one million vulnerable households this winter".

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In the meantime, suppliers must step up efforts to get more of their customers on default tariffs onto better value deals.

It will apply to anyone on a standard variable tariff, the expensive plans that customers are moved to when cheaper, fixed deals end.

Following the initial announcement by May at the Conservative party conference, two United Kingdom listed energy companies, Centrica and SSE saw a total, combined total of £900 million wiped off the value of their companies.

The cap would be a temporary measure, running until the end of 2020 at the latest.

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