Ed Miliband’s announcement to freeze energy bills for 20 months if his Labour party wins the 2015 general elections, has cause quite a stir, and Prime Minister David Cameron has been quick to lambast the proposal as unrealistic.
Now, SSE, one of the largest energy companies in Great Britain, has said that it will increase energy prices by 8.2% starting the 15th of November, and the argument of fuel bills has intensified.
A spokesman for the prime minister has reiterated Cameron’s criticism that freezing energy prices is impossible as they are reliant on international factors and therefore market intervention by the government would be difficult. He claims that the unexpected prise rise from SSE proves the point.
Related article: Miliband’s Energy Price Freeze Lacks Long-Term Strategy
“With regard to the opposition's policies – it is rather more for my political colleagues to help you out on that. But if I could paraphrase what they might say to you, if I were here talking about a 20-month price cap you might be putting to me that that is a con.
The fact that we operate in an international wholesale energy market is an important factor here.”
Miliband, however, replies that this 8.2% increase only works to highlight the importance of his promise to freeze energy bills.
Downing Street has remarked that the Labour leader seems to think he would be able to control energy prices in the same way as he would control the national rail ticket prices, but that the important difference is that rail ticket prices are only influenced by domestic factors.
Prime Minister Cameron, on the other hand, is aware of the limits to which government can intervene in the energy market, and plans to promote more competition in order to encourage lower prices.
The Downing Street spokesman said that “the prime minister talked several weeks ago about the need to have lower prices for 20 years. What is really important is to have action around increased competition but also measures around putting people on lower tariffs.”
Caroline Flint, the shadow secretary for energy and climate change, told the Guardian that “hard-pressed consumers are now paying the price for David Cameron's failure to stand up to the energy companies. When times are tough, energy companies should be helping their customers, not hitting them with more price rises to boost their profits. That's why a Labour government would freeze energy prices and reset Britain's energy market to stop people being ripped off.”
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…