The UK’s energy company share prices all opened higher Thursday morning. The big six listed energy companies recovered some of the sharp losses experienced after UK Prime Mister Theresa May’s announcement on capping energy prices.
British Gas operator Centrica, EDF Energy, SSE, EON, RWE and Npower all moved higher as UK trading began at 0830 GMT. However, most of them remain below the highs achieved Wednesday morning.
In her speech to close the 2017 Conservative party conference in Manchester, Theresa May announced plans to introduce an energy price cap on the standard variable tariffs offered by energy providers.
This was one of her new measures to help tackle what she called “rip-off” Britain. The price cap could help millions of Britons struggling to pay what many consider to be the high cost of heating and running a home.
The most recent Government data on fuel poverty in the UK show the number of households experiencing fuel poverty rose to 11% in 2015. That equates to some 2.5 million homes.
Official estimates suggest the proportion of people in fuel poverty – where the cost of keeping warm isn’t considered ‘reasonable’ – could actually have been found to have risen in 2016 and 2017.
Centrica’s CEO, meanwhile, spoke on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme early Thursday. Iain Conn said price caps rarely work in the way they’re intended to and that the Government should think of a different way restructure the energy pricing system.
"In New Zealand, in Spain, in California and in Ontario they [price caps] tend to limit choice, reduce competition and prices tend to bunch around the cap,” Conn told the Today programme. He added a price cap could actually bring an end to the range of cheaper deals currently available in the UK.
The UK’s energy minister Greg Clark, meanwhile, also appeared on the topical radio show and said the caps could be in place by as soon as this winter.