During his speech at Chatham House Energy Transitions conference in London today (1 March), the Energy Security Secretary, Grant Shapps, is expected to demand that suppliers pass on lower wholesale price benefits to consumers – “no ifs, buts or maybes.”
On 27 February, Ofgem announced the April energy price cap at £3,280, a £1,051 decrease from the previous cap largely caused by lower wholesale prices. Despite this decrease however, households will face even higher energy bills from April, when the government plans to increase the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) to £3,000.
The Energy sector rallied in response to the announcement, calling for the government to provide greater support for households already struggling to pay their bills, with many suggesting that the government utilise the surplus granted by the lower price cap to keep the EPG at £2,500.
Shapps’ demand for suppliers to cut consumer bills forms part of his overriding aim of the UK achieving energy independence. In his speech today, Shapps is set to promise a “laser-like focus” to ensure that the UK can never again be held “ransom” by external forces.
The fight against climate and the country’s energy security, Shapps is anticipated to declare, are “two sides of the same coin”.
Speaking at the conference today, Shapps is expected to say:
“I have one overriding mission in this new job: for the UK to have amongst the cheapest wholesale electricity prices in Europe. This is critical to consumers, to our country and to our planet.
“Making the most of our position as a world-leaders in renewables and nuclear technology, home-grown sources that will shield households from the worst excesses of the volatile global fossil fuel markets. And suppliers must be ready to pass those savings onto consumers.
“Families have seen the impact on the pounds in their pockets of Putin’s illegal march on Ukraine a year ago – and it has opened the world’s eyes to just how vulnerable we are to tyrants like him.
“Working towards this overarching goal of cheaper wholesale electricity will mean we will be powering Britain from Britain, increasing our energy security and independence – the kind of independence that comes from having the four biggest wind farms off our shores.
“And all this will be better for our planet – energy security and tackling climate change are ultimately two sides of the same coin. And it will be this – not the eco-extremists like Extinction Rebellion causing disruption and dismay – that will have people voting with their feet as they see the benefits of achieving net zero.”