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United Kingdom unveils draft plans for energy price cap
13 October 2017, 11:33 | Devin Moran
Image Theresa May needed plenty of water and a cough sweet to get her through the speech
The government will on Thursday (12 October) publish plans to cap energy bills for approximately two-thirds of British households.
These were in advance of Government efforts to cap, what Prime Minister Theresa May called, rip-off standard variable tariffs (SVTs) - a default price for electricity and gas that is often the most expensive.
But the law will expire in 2020, it was disclosed, with the potential for it to be extended for a further three years at most.
Energy prices could be capped until 2023, the government has said, as it unveiled draft legislation to limit bills for up to 15 million households.
However, Ofgem said on Wednesday that it would have to wait for legislation to be in force before it could take action on standard variable tariffs.
But after 192 MPs of all parties wrote to the PM in September complaining that poorer customers were being preyed on by energy firms, Mrs May revived the plan and backed a price cap in her recent Tory conference speech.
"We also expect suppliers to co-operate when Ofgem initially introduces a safeguard tariff for around 1 million vulnerable households this winter".
In the meantime, we expect suppliers to do more to get customers on poor value default tariffs onto better deals.
"Today's publication of draft legislation is a vital step towards fixing that and in offering crucial peace of mind for ordinary working families all over the country".
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said that customers of the big six energy suppliers were "overpaying to the tune of £1.4bn a year".
Around two-thirds of energy customers in Britain are on those tariffs, i.e. 18 million customer accounts - four million of which are on prepayment meters and are now protected by a price cap.
Four million of those are on pre-payment meters.
The Government's plan to provide price protection to all households on default deals will reassure them that the price they pay reflects the underlying costs of supplying their energy.
She said: "Due to the Government's dithering, the four million households in fuel poverty - nearly one million of which includes a disabled person - will face another winter of cold homes and astronomical bills".
Bill will give energy regulator Ofgem the power to cap standard variable tariffs.
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