UK 'could follow Berlin' to save energy prices says Buckley
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The race to be the next leader of the Conservative party, and thus the next Prime Minister is now down to two candidates, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. Whoever wins, one of their biggest priorities will have to be tackling the energy crisis, which for many families in Britain, went bad to nightmare-like within just the past week, as analysts now warn that the energy bills could skyrocket to £3,800 this winter.
As millions of families are now facing fuel poverty as a result of these price increases, John Penrose, the MP for Weston-super-Mare and Chairman of the Conservative Policy Forum, has urged the next leader to issue the process of sweeping market reforms, that could significantly slash energy bills by this winter.
In a letter to Ms Truss and Mr Sunak, exclusively seen by Express.co.uk, Mr Penrose urged the next leader to speed up the process of sweeping energy market reforms, which he described as “a long-term cure that will stop [the energy crisis] coming back tomorrow”.
Describing the Government’s recent announcement to consider potential reform as “vital”, he wrote: “Without that long-term cure we could be back here in a few months’ time. And again next year. And the year after that too.
“We need sustainable solutions, which has to include uncoupling our gas and electricity bills from slavishly following the international price of gas, even though it has no impact on the costs of all the energy we generate from renewables.”
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Penrose said: “At the moment, everyone’s bills are spiralling because of the international price of gas, and yet an increasingly large proportion of energy is coming from renewables, and the price of them is falling steadily for a couple of years.
“Yet none of that is being fed through with bills that are landing on our customers’ mats.
“Somewhere, there are middlemen and women who are pocketing that difference, that margin, and that’s getting bigger and bigger.
“That’s not right, we need to see the cheaper prices feeding through to our bills, and the way to do that is to reform the way the market works so that the low prices reach the customers.
“This is something that we can do quickly, and the advantage of this is that most of the other changes, like new nuclear power stations, are important, but will take years to do.
“You can reform the market within a matter of weeks and months if you really need to.”
In the letter, he told the PM candidates that the “Conservative answer” to this problem is to deal with the root causes of the issue, rather than hitting these middlemen with extra taxes.
He wrote: “It’s to deal with the underlying causes by ramping up competition so those inflated margins evaporate completely, driving down energy prices until there’s nothing left for middle-men to pocket in the first place.
“So the Government’s consultation is trying to do exactly the right thing, but the timetable is far too slow.
“It says the reforms won’t take effect until ‘the mid-2020s’, but the crisis is now.
“We need to move much, much faster to design and introduce the new more-competitive system within weeks or months, so those cheap renewable electricity prices start to feed through to everyone’s bills by the time this year’s cold winter weather arrives.
“It will mean treating these reforms like the quest for a covid vaccine, and introducing them far faster than the business-as-usual timetable that’s currently being planned.
“So I am writing to ask both of you to commit, if you are our Prime Minister by September, that you will deliver these much-needed and thoroughly Conservative, pro-competition reforms at lightning speed, so families and businesses alike can start paying lower prices this winter, rather than sometime in the mid-2020’s?”
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