Theresa May warns green paper will go beyond just encouraging customers to switch

Theresa May has said the energy market is not working as she signalled that the government will go beyond encouraging customers to switch suppliers when it publishes its upcoming consumer green paper.

Giving the keynote speech at the Conservatives spring conference in Cardiff today, the prime minister highlighted energy market as “one market manifestly not working for customers”.

Flagging up that the government would “soon” be publishing a consumer green paper to tackle markets that are failing to work for customers, the prime minister said: “Energy is not a luxury but a necessity of life. It is clear to me that the market is not working as it should.”

“Relying on switching alone to keep prices low is not working. Our party did not break up the unjust and inefficient monopolies of the old nationalised energy corporations only to replace them with a system that traps the poorest customers on the worst deals.”

May added that the government is “looking closely” how to address this problem and would set out its plans “soon”.

She said that energy bills, which had increased by 150 per cent over the past 15 years, were swallowing up a growing proportion of “ordinary low income” families’ take home pay.

May’s speech follows comments by energy minister Jesse Norman in Parliament yesterday that the consumer green paper will outline plans to intervene in broken markets. 

Winding up a debate on energy prices, Norman added that the recent inflation-busting price increases by utilities were “unacceptable”.

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