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British Energy Minister Urges “Big Six” To Limit Lobbying Against Price Caps

Electricity

British Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry asked the United Kingdom’s biggest energy firms to restrict lobbying against a new bill that would instill a price cap on default energy tariffs.

The Big Six firms directly addressed in the note included Centrica, SSE, Scottish Power, EDF Energy, E.On and Npower.

"We hope you will work constructively together with government and parliamentarians to ensure the bill passes smoothly through parliament and that you will support Ofgem’s work to ensure the cap is implemented in time for next winter," Perry and his team wrote.

A price cap is scheduled to be put in place next winter, but getting final approval is a process that follows tight deadlines. The Queen must authorize a “royal assent” before parliament ends its current session on July 20, the U.K.’s energy regulator said.

“We want to see a fully working, competitive market that is innovative, adaptive and flourishing, with low costs for consumers, and we look forward to working with you, and other suppliers, on that,” the letter added.

Back in Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s time in office, the British government sold just about all its commercial assets, including telecom, aircraft, and car-making companies, along with hotels, ferries, oil exploration and production, utilities, and shipbuilding companies. Most of these assets had come under government ownership after World War II when the Labor Party took control of government.

Related: Peak U.S. Shale Could Be 4 Years Away

Britain's unregulated private electricity suppliers are in financial difficulty. The government wants to reinstitute price controls to alleviate the high price epidemic squeezing household budgets and prevent profiteering from the key service. In addition, contracts by the companies that support older vintage high-cost renewables prevent a bigger commitment to newer, lower cost renewables in the country’s energy markets, according to new analysis.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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