Just a few weeks after pressing Theresa May over energy price increases at Prime Minister’s Questions, energy campaigner Caroline Flint has secured a parliamentary debate on energy prices, after pressing the powerful Backbench Business Committee for a major debate in the Commons Chamber.
The MP joined forces with John Penrose MP and Patricia Gibson MP to secure the support of 53 MPs to request a debate in the Commons Chamber.
Ms Flint told the Committee that the Competition and Markets Authority “found that two thirds of customers on the standard variable tariff have been paying over the odds. That is something like £8 billion since 2012. The urgency is that the Government has an Industrial Strategy Consultation Paper, part of which looks at the energy market. Also, what we have seen in recent weeks and even today, is the Big Six putting up their prices way beyond what Ofgem think is fair.
“This is about a fair energy market. No amount of switching will protect this customer base. The Government have recognised that those on pre-payment meters should be protected. If it is good enough for those people on pre-payment meters, what about the people stuck on standard variable tariffs?”
“We think this is an opportune time to have a debate in the Chamber, because this is something affecting so many of our constituents.”
Ms Flint was notified later that day that the Committee had agreed to hold a debate on one of the four days they can allocate before the end of the Parliamentary session in May.
Said Caroline: “I am delighted that the Committee recognised the importance of this to so many of our constituents and we will now get a full day to press the Government over action on energy prices. This demand for a debate has secured widespread support from backbenchers and I feel we are one step closer to securing Government action on this unfair energy market.”
The motion drafted for the debate reads:
That this House deplores the big six energy firms’ treatment of out-of-contract energy customers on default tariffs; believes immediate action is needed to protect these consumers, and that pushing customers to start switching will not fix the problem sufficiently quickly or completely on its own; and calls on the industry, regulators and the Government to consider solutions which recognise that many people lead busy lives where switching their energy supplier may not always be a high priority.
Watch Caroline’s presentation to the Committee HERE.