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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 CEST
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)

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
E.ON -0.14% 9.418 Delayed Quote.4.08%
ELECTRICITÉ DE FRANCE 1.39% 12.425 Real-time Quote.19.24%
IBERDROLA 0.18% 6.55 End-of-day quote.1.21%
INNOGY SE -0.53% 35.91 Delayed Quote.9.90%
SCOTTISH AND SOUTHERN ENERGY 0.00% 1427.5 Delayed Quote.8.14%
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Financials ( GBP)
Sales 2018 28 055 M
EBIT 2018 1 458 M
Net income 2018 647 M
Debt 2018 2 949 M
Yield 2018 8,14%
P/E ratio 2018 11,03
P/E ratio 2019 11,97
EV / Sales 2018 0,40x
EV / Sales 2019 0,40x
Capitalization 8 272 M
Duration : Period :
Centrica Technical Analysis Chart | CNA | GB00B033F229 | 4-Traders
Technical analysis trends CENTRICA
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 18
Average target price 1,50  GBP
Spread / Average Target 1,6%
EPS Revisions
Iain C. Conn Chief Executive Officer & Director
Richard Neil Haythornthwaite Chairman
Jeff Bell Group Chief Financial Officer & Director
Mike Young Group Chief Information Officer
Mark Hanafin Group Executive Director & CEO- Centrica Business
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1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
CENTRICA6.74%11 093
ENGIE1.95%41 872
ORSTED22.76%27 405
SEMPRA ENERGY-4.00%26 934