Government plans to shake up competition among energy companies

The government has set out plans to ensure that consumers have wider control over their energy use, as it boosts competition in the sector amid risks it could miss its net zero goals.

It comes as major suppliers continue to charge the maximum amounts allowed under the default tariff price cap.

The plans, set out in a series of documents exploring the future of the sector, aim to help support consumers to save money and make more environmentally-friendly choices by collaborating with industry players.

The potential plans include options like lower prices at certain times of the day, smart chargers that put users on the lowest rate to charge electric vehicles and opportunities to buy shares in renewable energy in return for discounts.

However, some have described the plans as insufficient.

National Energy Action head of policy Matt Copeland said: “The UK government has failed to set out any new proposals to protect low income and vulnerable people from April 2024. Millions of households continue to face unaffordable energy bills.”

“Last winter was the hardest in living memory, but this winter looks likely to be just as bad. With prices staying high, more and more people are going without hot food or warm showers or are turning their heating off altogether.”

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“Households are also struggling with a growing mountain of debt. We urgently need the UK government to meet its commitment to set out how it will protect the most vulnerable,” he added.

However, the government maintains it is taking committed action to resolve the issues within the sector.

Energy consumers and affordability minister Amanda Solloway said: “The global rises in energy prices caused by Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine shows why we need to bolster our energy security and strengthen our energy market, so families and businesses are protected, while getting a fair deal.”

“Over the winter, we provided unprecedented levels of support – including paying nearly half a typical household’s energy bill – and took decisive steps to stabilise the retail market. We now want to put power back in the hands of consumers, giving them greater options to cut their bills in a market fit for the future.”

“Today, I’m calling on industry to work with us, and take up the opportunities of investing in low-carbon technologies and providing a first-class customer service.”

Climate crisisEnergyNet zeroNewsPolicy

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