Business secretary ‘dismayed’ at energy consumer detriment

The business and energy secretary Greg Clark told committee members he was “dismayed” at the degree of consumer detriment caused by standard variable tariff rates.

Commenting on the £1.4 billion that customers could have saved in a fully competitive market according to the Competition and Markets Authority probe, Clark said: “I am dismayed that there is that degree of consumer detriment, they are constituents and they ought not to be losing money in that way. I take very seriously the duty to act when you‘re confronted with that degree of detriment.”

Clark added that he wanted energy companies to reward customers on standard variable tariffs (SVTs) for their “loyalty”.

“People who are on the most expensive tariffs and who don’t engage in switching, some of these are the most vulnerable. They should not be penalised for what they might see as loyalty to a company that has a blue –chip good corporate reputation. People assume that if you are with one of these companies that you may not get the best bargain but you won’t be ripped off. They don’t expect their loyalty to be abused,” he added.

Clark was questioned by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee yesterday on energy and climate change briefs, fuel poverty plans, Hinkley Point C, and the impact of Brexit on climate change priorities for the UK.

The CMA investigation published its final report in June this year with many of its recommendations expected to start being implemented by spring 2017.