Setting tariff price cap is government decision, says UK energy regulator

UK energy regulator Ofgem has the power to cap energy price tariffs, but the decision is a matter for the government, its chief executive told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Centrica PLC’s British Gas recently decided to freeze the price of its standard variable tariffs until later this year, while rival supplier npower had said its own equivalent tariff would rise by 9.8% from March this year. ScottishPower has since said its own tariff will rise by 7.8% from the end of March.

A two-year inquiry by the Competition & Markets Authority into the UK market, which concluded last year, stopped short of imposing a widespread price cap, instead proposing a price cap on pre-payment meters, used by poorer households, among other measures.

“In theory we have the powers to amend any licence condition as we see fit,” Dermot Nolan told the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy committee, Reuters reported.

“But given the framework we operate under we have never sought to put a price cap…for standard variable tariffs,” he said.

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