Energy

The UK energy secretary has written to the energy market regulator and the nascent Competition and Markets Authority – two of the three institutions reviewing competition in the energy market, an area of intense public and political interest – suggesting that Centrica is making too much money in its domestic gas supply business. Read more

David Cameron announced the figures in the Sun, which shows a picture of him next to a snap of Margaret Thatcher promoting her Right to Buy scheme. It should not take too long to figure out the prime minister’s preferred interpretation of the first figures relating to the mortgage guarantee scheme: the only bubble Help to Buy is inflating is one of happiness in the hearts of ordinary people. Read more

At what should have been called Prime Minister John Major’s Questions, David Cameron announced that the UK government will review the “green charges” found in energy bills.

Although it is vital to separate the political signal from the noise, Ed Miliband’s energy bills pledge has created a cacophony. Mr Cameron’s review is his clearest response to date but it is important to understand the role played by green charges in this matter. Read more

Prime Minister’s questions are often more fruitful when they are asked of an incumbent’s predecessors. This afternoon, Sir John Major called for a windfall tax on Britain’s energy companies. A Downing Street spokesperson says it is an “interesting contribution” from the former Conservative PM, who is not one to speak rashly, but that there are “no plans” to introduce such a levy. Hmmmm …. Read more

Whenever there is a discussion about problems in the energy market, it tends to concentrate on one or two aspects. This, along with a lack of transparency, prevents a comprehensive understanding of the market’s flaws, contributing to mistrust. Price freezes are a crude instrument but their popularity shows the depth of the public’s anger. Yet, as Mr Miliband well knows, intervention like this must be followed by genuine reform. This must tackle the real Big Six problems in the market. Read more

Ed Miliband is not the only political leader to recognise the importance of rising energy bills. But in promising a price freeze he now “owns” the issue. The move tells us a lot about the Labour leader – including how he would govern if he became prime minister. Read more