Labour leader Ed Milliband has pledged to get tough on power companies in their new manifesto outlined today.
He announced there will be a pledge to get rid of Ofgem and replace it with a new regulator which would strip energy companies of their licenses if they harmed the interests of consumers. He also said he would get tough on the Big Six.
“We won’t stand by while powerful energy companies rip off businesses and families, keeping prices too high. So our plan will freeze energy prices so they can only fall and cannot rise and give the regulator the power to cut prices this winter” he announced to his loyal audience in Manchester.
On energy the manifesto states Labour would ” …simplify energy tariffs and make it easier for people to compare prices to get the best deal. We will protect small businesses by ending unfair contracts and automatic rollovers to more expensive tariffs.
“A tough new energy watchdog will enforce our reforms, with powers to strip energy companies of their licences if they repeatedly harm the interests of consumers and protect off-grid households.”
The Big Six would be required to “open their books” and sell electricity through an open exchange. The manifesto also promised environmentally-friendly jobs: “We will work to make Britain a world leader in low carbon technologies over the next decade, creating a million additional green jobs.”
They would also create a new ‘Energy Security Board’ to deliver a mixed power supply.
It states: “We will create an Energy Security Board to plan and deliver the energy mix we need, including renewables, nuclear, green gas, carbon capture and storage and clean coal.
“For onshore unconventional oil and gas, we will establish a robust environmental and regulatory regime before extraction can take place. And to safeguard the future of the offshore oil and gas industry.”
The promise was reaffirmed by the party to freeze bills until 2017, with the creation of the new regulator ensuring this would happen.