The heads of nine major energy companies have voiced “increasing concern” about a bill which “threatens to undermine strong, independent” regulation of the sector.
In a strongly-worded letter to Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), they urge the government to rethink measures Energy Prices Bill.
The bill is a bid to control energy prices this winter through interventions, as the price of oil and gas forces millions of people’s electricity and gas bills sky-high. One in three are facing the prospect of fuel poverty and bills of at least £2,500.
They are “alarmed” at clauses in the bill which propose new ministerial powers over regulation, saying that with the resignation of Liz Truss and a new leader, “the Bill must now be reconsidered and amended”.
The companies, which include E.ON, Centrica, Energy UK, EDF, Octopus. Ovo, Scottish Power and Uniper, says the bill should be “solely focused” on ensuring energy supply this winter, amid alarming rising prices.
Seeking “urgent clarification and reconsideration of the inclusion of broad measures” in the proposed bill, the firms say the policies would “challenge the importance of an independent and stable regulatory, policy and governance framework”.
While acknowledging a “vital role for the Government” in directing a regulator and holding it to account, the activities of the watchdog, they said, must be “carried out independent, expertly and objectively”.
They also criticise a bid to give Jacob Rees-Mogg “powers to be able to widely modify licenses and issue directions in times of an energy crisis” which they warned “has the potential to impact just about everything energy companies do on an indefinite basis”/
The energy firms said it could put investment in the industry and delivery of energy “in jeopardy”, as they appealed for a u-turn.
BEIS and Jacob Rees-Mogg have been approached for comment.