- £ for Your Community
- Action Packs
- About Us
- Contact Us
Chris Huhne threatens tough action on the “big six” energy suppliers
Speaking at the Lib Dem conference 2011 the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, made it clear that things need to change in the energy sector. He emphasised that, despite the economic climate “cutting carbon is not a luxury to be ditched when the going gets tough” and he restated the government’s aim to be the greenest ever.
He promised to “get tough on the ‘big six’ energy companies to ensure that consumers get the best possible deal”. He would like to see them offering “simpler tariffs”, and is intending to bring in new legislation requiring all energy companies to inform customers whether they could buy more cheaply on another tariff. The energy secretary reported Ofgem calculations to highlight the fact that “households could save £200 by switching to the lowest cost supplier – but fewer than one in seven do so.” He also promised to help households save money with “simpler charging, clearer bills and quicker switching” and reported new powers for Ofgem to penalise doorstep selling and endorsed a more competitive energy market.
Chris Huhne explained that he wants to encourage “consumer-friendly” firms such as co-ops, consumer charities and partnerships – dedicated to doing the shopping around so that “you are always on the best deal, even if you do not have time to check yourself”. Local United welcomed this news. Gabby Mallett, project secretary, explained ‘we are very pleased that Mr Huhne has underlined what we have seen as an issue for some time. Consumers are getting a raw deal whatever they do. Most would be better off by switching to a different supplier, but many could even benefit by changing tariff with the same supplier. That’s why we set up the Local United Ethical Energy Supply Scheme. It supports communities to help their householders to switch to an ethical supplier. They can get away from cheap, short-term tariffs, they can be comfortable in the knowledge that they are paying a competitive price for their energy and they can benefit their communities too.”
The energy secretary also pledged to crack down on “anti-competitive behaviour” and “predatory pricing” so that new small companies could be encouraged to enter the energy market. This would also be helped by “cutting red tape so they can grow bigger” and by “making it easier for them to buy and sell electricity in the wholesale market”. Again Local United is ahead of the game with four smaller Ethical Energy Supply Companies part of its scheme.
Mr Huhne also highlighted the importance of the Green Deal which will launch next October. He stated that 250,000 new jobs would be created in energy saving and that it would help to “stop the scandal where we use more energy to heat our homes than in Sweden, despite their icy winters”. He announced that his party was putting principles into practice as “every single Liberal Democrat council has now signed up to pioneer the Green Deal”.