Watchdog to save UK household energy bills €1.1bn

Watchdog to save UK household energy bills €1.1bn

By Sabina Zawadzki and Eamon Quinn

Britain’s regulator proposed a price cap on default energy bills to save households about a £1bn (€1.1bn) a year and aims to implement it in time for winter following a UK government promise to tackle “rip-off” prices.

The energy regulator, Ofgem, said it wanted to cap the default electricity and gas bill at £1,136 a year, a level below the most-used tariffs set by the country’s big six suppliers but not as severe as some had expected.

Shares in Centrica, whose British Gas is the largest household energy supplier in the country, SSE, and EDF Energy, rose after the announcement.

Shares in E.ON, Innogy, whose Npower is a supplier, and Iberdrola, which owns Scottish Power, were little changed or slightly lower.

The regulator was tasked with setting a cap by parliament after an influential committee of MPs called Britain’s energy market “broken”.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the energy tariffs were a “rip-off”. Ofgem said the cap should save a household using normal amounts of energy £75 a year and those on the dearest tariffs should save £120, estimating that a £1bn would be shaved off suppliers’ revenues.

Separately, in Ireland, the watchdog, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) said it had renewed its annual “accreditation” for price comparison websites and after finding they met 11 tests.

“CRU research shows that many consumers lose out because they are not aware of these options and find it difficult to make comparisons between the various offers.

“Price comparison websites provide a valuable service for consumers by bringing together all the offers available from suppliers and ranking the best options, based on an individual consumer’s information and preferences.

“These websites also offer a switching service to manage the process of switching suppliers on behalf of customers,” the CRU said.

“Price comparison websites are a valuable tool in providing consumers access to neutral and objective information to aid them in their decisions when choosing an energy supplier,” said the CRU’s Aoife MacEvilly.

- Reuters and Irish Examiner

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