Not so smug please, Mr Cameron

November 22, 2012 10:50 am

David Cameron: you crowed about your ‘involvement’ with getting customers cheapest energy prices at PMQs this afternoon.  Here’s the reality.  Leaving aside for a moment the fact that what you proposed (‘Energy Companies will GIVE customers the lowest tariff’) has not happened, and indeed, as I have observed before would be almost a technical impossibility to execute, we now know the following:

  1. Following your intervention DECC went away and hurriedly worked out how to have a consultation on your proposal, and how to put it in the Energy Bill. They had not previously intended to do so, and were anticipating hearing what OFGEM might propose on the subject.
  2. They concluded that your proposal would not work, and instead opted to consult on proposals remarkably similar (sorry, I’m being kind: almost identical) with those published by OFGEM two days after your original intervention.  (See p8 of Ofgem consultation here)
  3. The OFGEM proposals, to reduce tariff numbers to four, are easily implementable by Ofgem, without further legislation as they said to Energy and Climate change Select Committee just recently (see ECCC oral evidence 30th October)
  4. If Ofgem’s proposals were implemented, they would come into place in the summer of 2013.
  5. Because of continuing delays to the Energy Bill, it is now certain to be a ‘carryover bill’, as the Secretary of State confirmed to DECC select committee yesterday. This means that the Bill along with any amendments to the legislation considered necessary by the new ‘consultation’ will not reach the statute books until the spring of 2014 at the earliest.  Secondary legislation then has to enact clauses in the Bill, which may include clauses now being written following the new consultation.

What this all means, Mr Cameron is this. If you had not intervened, had waited two days for OFGEM to report, and then had enquired about how their proposed mechanisms might work, you would be looking at a new tariff regime coming into place next summer. As it is, an identical new tariff regime will now not come into place until a year later.  Still pleased with yourself?

What you can do, still, is suggest that, after all if the new tariff regime is to be as OFGEM suggests, then legislation is not needed, and they can go ahead and use their powers to make the change.  As political expediency on this occasion appears to rank higher in your priorities than good policy-making, I’m pretty sure that won’t happen. But please stop saying you’re proud of what you’ve done when all you have achieved is to waste a year of energy customers’ time and money.

Alan Whitehead is the Labour MP for Southampton Test. This was first posted here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Graeme-Hancocks/1156294498 Graeme Hancocks

    He doesn’t care about facts! He is spin merchant, a PR snake oil salesman, a con man, only interested in making himself look good.

Latest

  • News Blair says the West must be prepared to work with Putin and the Egyptian military

    Blair says the West must be prepared to work with Putin and the Egyptian military

    Tony Blair may not have been Prime Minister for nearly seven years now, but his views – particularly on foreign policy – are always newsworthy. This morning he gave a wide-ranging and controversial speech at Bloomberg’s London HQ on the Middle East, urging the West not to pull back from the Middle East as an unsolvable problem, but to engage. Although despite the billing, this was as much a speech about faith as it was about geo-politics. At the roots of Blair’s […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour set up rapid rebuttal unit for election campaign

    Labour set up rapid rebuttal unit for election campaign

    Labour plan to step up their media monitoring process in the run up to the 2015 general election, according to The Independent. A team will be in charge of rebutting negative media to avoid a re-run of the 1992 election, where an onslaught of attacks from the press played their part in a unexpected Conservative victory. Michael Dugher, the MP in charge of Labour’s communications, is this week in the US discussing strategy with new appointment David Axelrod and other political […]

    Read more →
  • Featured UKIP, England and St George

    UKIP, England and St George

    Labour tends to view UKIP like Nelson viewed the signal at the Battle of Copenhagen. He held the telescope to his blind eye and said, ‘I really do not see the signal’.  Our image of  UKIP is a protest vehicle for disaffected, older, right wing Tories in the South. But UKIP represents more significant trends than this caricature suggests. UKIP is a symptom of the deep social and economic changes that have taken place over the last thirty years. Its […]

    Read more →
  • News Why are the Lib Dems so shy?

    Why are the Lib Dems so shy?

    Regular readers will know that we’re always keeping an eye on Lib Dems leaflets. Their local propaganda sheets are always good for a questionable bar chart, or forgetting the name of the generic place their text is for – but they can also be quite shy about their party affiliation too. For example, take the “Islington Chronicle”. Sounds like a local paper, and there’s no Lib Dem logo and barely a splash of their trademark yellow. But it is, in […]

    Read more →
  • News Scotland Seats and Selections Have the Tories given up on Scotland?

    Have the Tories given up on Scotland?

    This morning we noted that the Tories haven’t selected candidates in nearly half of the most marginal Labour and Lib Dem seats. But what’s particularly telling is that in over 60% of target seats in the Midlands and the North they have so far failed to select a candidate, while the Independent claims that in Scotland there are no Tory parliamentary candidates at all. However, Mark Wallace over at ConHome notes that the Tories have in fact selected a total of two […]

    Read more →