If energy companies don't cut fuel prices the Government will 'force them to do it'

19 December 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
Harriet Harman, said yesterday that energy companies "must pass on the price cuts to consumers" after the price of oil has plummeted, or face legal action.

Standing in for the Prime Minister while he was visiting Iraq, the deputy leader of the Labour Party said that the Government is considering creating legislation which will force the big six energy companies to reduce the prices they charge domestic and business customers.

She told the House of Commons that gas and electricity providers must "treat all customers fairly", and, "if they don't" she added, "it won't just be Ofgem and the Competition Commission they’ll have to worry about. We will change the law and force them to do it."

The deputy Labour leader was responding to a question from Labour MP Brian Donohoe who asked, "at a time when the price of a barrel of oil has sunk like a stone, why is it that the energy companies are charging the price they are for fuel?"

Ms Harman's words come at the end of a year of price rises, which have seen households pay 40 per cent more for their household energy as the price of oil shot up to a record-high of $147 a barrel this summer.

Having now fallen back down to a four-year low of less than $40 a barrel, consumers are waiting for their fuel bills to start reflecting the lower wholesale prices, and energy companies are promising price cuts for the New Year.

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