MPs have backed the appointment of price cap champion Professor Martin Cave as the new chair of Ofgem.

Following a pre-appointment hearing on Tuesday, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee has endorsed  Cave, who is the government’s preferred candidate to head the energy regulator.

The committee’s chair Rachel Reeves wished him ‘every success’ and said she looked forward to the academic being a ‘visible, effective’ chair of Ofgem.

She said: “The energy market needs a tough regulator. I hope Professor Cave will do all he can to ensure that Ofgem is a champion for energy consumers, including for vulnerable customers and those on low incomes, and also for small businesses who often bear the brunt of higher energy costs.

“Ofgem will play a crucial role in the operation of the welcome legislation on energy price caps, and as a committee we look forward to engaging with the regulator on this and other energy issues in the future”.

Cave proposed a temporary cap on standard variable tariffs in a minority report submitted alongside the Competition and Markets Authority’s 2016 energy prices inquiry, of which he was a member.

However the report endorsing Cave’s appointment expressed concern that the BEIS department is not taking sufficient action to promote gender diversity in the roles overseeing the bodies, like Ofgem, which the department sponsors.

According to diversity statistics provided by BEIS, only one woman was shortlisted for the role of Ofgem chair.

While welcoming the appointments of Lynne Embleton and Ann Robinson as non-executive directors at Ofgem, alongside Cave, the committee said the department and the government ‘must do more to ensure diversity in public bodies’.

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