Energy bills must be capped because 12million households are being ripped off by up to £300 a year, MPs said yesterday.
They insisted urgent action was needed because suppliers have been overcharging loyal and vulnerable customers for years.
The Commons business, energy and industry committee backed Theresa May’s manifesto pledge for a temporary, absolute cap. ‘The energy market is broken,’ said committee chairman Rachel Reeves.
The Labour MP added: ‘Energy is an essential good and yet millions of customers are ripped off for staying loyal to their energy provider.
‘An energy price cap is now necessary and the Government must act urgently to ensure it is in place to protect customers next winter. The big six energy companies might whine and wail about the introduction of a price cap but they’ve been overcharging their customers on default and standard variable tariffs for years.
‘Their recent feeble efforts to move consumers off these tariffs have only served to highlight the need for this intervention.’ Business Secretary Greg Clark published draft legislation for an absolute cap on ‘rip-off’ energy tariffs last year.
But he has refused to guarantee that the flagship plans would be in place by this winter. Customers are paying £1.4billion a year over the odds under the current system and around 12million are stuck on poor-value tariffs, according to the MPs’ report.
The committee said there was a ‘clear lack of will’ on the part of big suppliers to address pricing problems.
Consumers should not be expected to have to ‘constantly defend themselves from excessive’ bills, it added.
Mr Clark said: ‘Today’s in-depth independent report from MPs backs up exactly what we have been saying – that the energy market isn’t working for customers stuck on rip-off tariffs and that Government intervention is justified.