Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, supports cap on energy bills as hundreds of Harlow households pay £300 too much for energy
ON TUESDAY,, Robert Halfon spoke in the House of Commons Chamber during the Second Reading of Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill to outline his strong support for the Bill.
The Prime Minister announced her support for the Bill on 25 February, following her commitment last year to take action if the Big Six energy providers did not cut their unfair bills. The six largest energy providers focus on cheap introductory offers and leave loyal customers on Standard Variable Tariffs. 11 million households are on these poor-value tariffs, earning the ‘Big Six’ an average of £1.4 billion more than they would earn if the market was working well.
High energy costs are felt most significantly by the vulnerable and those on lower incomes. First Utility, an independent energy provider, found that those who pay the most are the ones who can least afford it – 8 out of 10 people on high cost standard tariffs earn less than £18,000 a year.
Scope, the charity for disabled people, found that households with a disabled person make up 38 percent of all fuel poor households in England. Over a quarter of households with a disabled person – that’s over 4 million households – spend more than £1,500 a year on energy bills.
Robert suggested that energy providers based on the ‘cooperative model’ would inject competition into the market and that the Government should do more to support not-for-profit providers. He also suggested the cap should be accompanied by a ‘Consumer Bill of Rights’ for energy customers, offering a standardised set of guarantees to every energy customer in the UK.
Robert Halfon said: “This is a matter of social justice. Some households are paying £300 extra for their energy, just because they don’t switch to a cheaper tariff. Energy is a public good – it is a necessity and we need to make sure that every family has access to the heating and electricity they need.
For too long the market has been dominated by the few not the many. There have been unfair competitive practices taking place and too much pressure on the lower paid, with those most in need facing real hardship. Alongside the government’s previous action on energy – introducing smart meters and capping the bills for the most vulnerable – this new bill to introduce an energy cap would make the necessary corrections.
This is not about big government or small government, it’s about good government working in the best interests of its people.”
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