Cameron backs plan to simplify energy tariffs

DAVID Cameron yesterday said it was time to put “people before profits” as he backed proposals by regulator Ofgem to force suppliers to offer customers their lowest variable rate deal for electricity and gas by default.

From next winter suppliers will only be allowed to offer four core tariffs per fuel type. One of the tariffs must be a standard-variable rate, suppliers can then choose the other three from a range of options such as fixed rate or green.

Bills will also be made clearer to ensure customers are aware if they are missing out on a better deal.

“Our aim is that consumers will get the best possible energy tariff – no tricks, no loopholes – and we will use the powers we gained in the Energy Bill earlier this month to make sure this happens,” the Prime Minister said.

However, former GB electricity regulator Stephen Littlechild warned the proposals would exacerbate fuel poverty. “The rules on tariff simplification would encourage coordinated effects by suppliers and lead to narrower price differentials and again less competitive pressure,” he said.