The shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint has announced this week that increased powers would be given to a new energy regulator, including the power to revoke the licenses of utility companies who are not operating in the best interests of consumers, if Labour are elected.
Suppliers would also be forced to produce annual ‘scoreboards’ on performance in ‘areas of concern’. This decision is a move aimed at divesting unanimous power from the ‘big six’, a key policy concept for party leader Ed Miliband.
Talking to Bloomberg through email, Caroline Flint said, “Too often energy companies seem to view the regulator’s fines as a cost of doing business –- not as a warning to get their act together.
“Of course consumers must be compensated –- but if energy companies persist in mistreating their customers they must know their license could be on the line.”
The new energy regulator, if it deemed companies were continually breaching rules and regulations as well as harming the interests of consumers, would be in a better position to act against the impeding company.
Clare Francis, editor-in-chief at MoneySuperMarket, said, “It is clear that energy bills will stay in the political spotlight in the run up to next year’s election which is good news because millions of households continue to pay more than they need for their gas and electricity bills.
We welcome Labour’s proposals to give a new regulator greater powers and hope the political parties will all address the energy crisis in their manifestos.”
This would inspire a greater level of consumer confidence, which has been gradually falling in the sector due to rising energy bills. A recent report has also concluded that the UK’s utility bills are rising faster than anywhere else in the developed world, with electricity prices rising by 23.5% while gas prices soared by 33.8%.
Alongside this, prime minister David Cameron has also begun implementing his party’s Electricity Market Reform, which is designed to attract £110 billion of investment to upgrade obsolete electricity generators and networks as well as build clean power stations.
Photo source: S. Chowdhury-Diesel Philic-Electric Affinity via Flickr
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