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UK government must act urgently to put energy price cap in place by next winter - MPs

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02/13/2018 | 07:59am CET
FILE PHOTO - Electricity pylons are seen in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's government must act urgently to ensure a price cap on domestic energy prices is in place by next winter to help fix the country's broken energy market, a parliamentary committee said on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Theresa May said in October she would impose controls to tackle what she called "rip-off energy prices" - home power bills have doubled in Britain over the past decade to an average of about 1,150 pounds a year.

The government must pass a law before Britain's energy regulator Ofgem can set a cap, and Ofgem said last month this must be passed by the summer if the cap is to be in place to keep bills lower next winter.

"The energy market is broken ... an energy price cap is now necessary and the government must act urgently to ensure it is in place to protect customers next winter," said Rachel Reeves, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, which authored the report.

The Committee said the cap should be an absolute price limit rather than a relative cap which would limit the difference between the highest and lowest prices charged by each supplier.

It also criticised the big six energy companies for overcharging customers, who can pay as much as 300 pounds a year more than those on cheaper tariffs, and Ofgem for being slow and reluctant to act.

"The Committee urges Ofgem to be faster and more proactive in using its extensive powers to protect consumers from overcharging in the future," it said.

Britain's big six energy suppliers, which control around 80 percent of the market, are Centrica's (>> Centrica) British Gas, SSE (>> Scottish and Southern Energy), E.ON (>> E.ON), EDF Energy (>> Electricité de France), Innogy's (>> innogy SE) Npower and Iberdrola's (>> Iberdrola) Scottish Power.

The report also called on the government to close any loopholes in the draft legislation, published in October, which would allow companies to avoid the cap on more expensive green tariffs, which guarantee a certain amount of electricity comes from renewables such as wind or solar power.

(Reporting By Susanna Twidale, editing by David Evans)

Valeurs citées dans l'article
ChangeLast1st jan.
E.ON -0.82% 8.181 Delayed Quote.-11.67%
ELECTRICITÉ DE FRANCE 0.43% 10.475 Real-time Quote.-2.78%
IBERDROLA 0.72% 6.15 End-of-day quote.-6.41%
INNOGY SE -0.46% 30.24 Delayed Quote.-6.69%
SCOTTISH AND SOUTHERN ENERGY 0.41% 1218.5 Delayed Quote.-9.96%
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Financials ( GBP)
Sales 2017 27 461 M
EBIT 2017 1 313 M
Net income 2017 588 M
Debt 2017 2 979 M
Yield 2017 9,18%
P/E ratio 2017 11,96
P/E ratio 2018 9,30
EV / Sales 2017 0,38x
EV / Sales 2018 0,36x
Capitalization 7 323 M
Chart CENTRICA
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Technical analysis trends CENTRICA
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TrendsBearishBearishBearish
Income Statement Evolution
Consensus
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Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 19
Average target price 1,54  GBP
Spread / Average Target 18%
EPS Revisions
Managers
NameTitle
Iain C. Conn Chief Executive Officer & Director
Richard Neil Haythornthwaite Chairman
Jeff Bell Group Chief Financial Officer & Director
Charles Cameron Director-Technology & Engineering
Mike Young Group Chief Information Officer
Sector and Competitors
1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
CENTRICA-7.94%10 239
ELECTRICITÉ DE FRANCE-2.78%38 939
ENGIE-12.63%37 782
NATIONAL GRID PLC-15.34%35 397
SEMPRA ENERGY-1.36%27 031
ORSTED8.06%25 301