A REVIEW into energy prices announced by the government amid concerns about rising bills has been dismissed as “cold comfort” to the millions of people who are overpaying.
On Saturday the government said it had commissioned the review, led by Oxford University professor Dieter Helm, in response to the anger at British Gas’s announcement last week that it is raising electricity prices by 12.5 per cent in September, hitting more than three million customers. British Gas was the last of the “big six” to up its prices this year.
But looking into the possibility of imposing a cap on energy prices does not fall within Prof Helm’s brief, despite a pre-election pledge by Prime Minister Theresa May to cap soaring gas and electricity bills for 17 million households.
Prof Helm said: “My review will be independent and sort out the facts from the myths about the cost of energy, and make recommendations about how to more effectively achieve the overall objectives” — a reference to carbon emission targets.
It will also examine ways to reduce costs at different stages of energy production and supply.
Alex Neill from consumer group Which? said the review would be “cold comfort to the millions overpaying on their energy bills right now.”
Shadow energy secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said: “Today’s review is yet another example of the government’s procrastination when it comes to reforming the broken energy market.
“Homes and businesses face a bleak winter ahead with soaring and unfair energy costs. They need action, not another review.”
She said reports of intensive lobbying by the “big six” and senior cabinet members to urge Ms May not to cap prices seemed correct.