Dale Vince calls on the government to make the market “simple to understand”

The outspoken founder of Ecotricity has slammed the government’s plans for a price cap and urged ministers to go further.

Dale Vince said the biggest issue facing the energy market is the “bewildering number of tariffs” that confuse customers and prevent them from switching, and added he now backs a recent paper by the think tank Institute for Public Policy (IPPR), which recommends suppliers just offer one tariff to customers.

The government published details yesterday of the draft Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill, which would give Ofgem powers to impose an absolute cap to be applied to households across the UK, apart from Northern Ireland, that are on standard variable tariffs and other default tariffs.

“The government has clearly done this on the hoof,” said Vince. “Messing about with a price cap isn’t the answer, and will probably do more harm than good.

“While price gouging is a problem, the biggest issue is that people’s trust in energy companies has been destroyed by a bewildering number of tariffs that confuse bill payers and stop them switching.

“The root of the issue is that many in our industry play games by offering a multitude of tariffs for essentially the same thing, the energy they supply.

“If Theresa May really wants to fix what she terms a broken market, this is what she needs to get to grips with,” he added. “Just make the market simple to understand and fair to everyone – and that will enable choice and innovation.” 

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