Recently I once again spoke out in support of consumers and how the energy market simply does not work for them during the Domestic and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill.
We know that, for a whole variety of reasons, many consumers do not switch energy deals. However, if they do not do so, they end up on a standard variable tariff (SVT), paying the highest prices of all consumers for their energy. Those on this tariff tend to be older, disabled and on low incomes.
Indeed, research shows that people in my constituency of North Ayrshire and Arran are overpaying on energy bills by a staggering £5.5 million a year and that across the UK, 80% of households with an income of less than £18,000 did not switch supplier in the past three years.
That is why I was delighted to work across party lines to help press for a Bill which will require Ofgem to cap domestic standard variable and default tariffs. This cap will remain in place until 2020 and will be in place for winter 2018.
This cap should have been introduced sooner and we need to prepare for what comes after the cap is lifted. We need to continue to protect consumers and ensure that they have energy deals that are right for them and that they are not ripped off as they have been. We cannot go back to business as usual after the cap is removed. We need real and lasting change, and I will continue to do all I can to ensure that the period when the cap is in place is an opportunity to make that change happen.