Mr Miliband said in his speech to his party’s Brighton conference that an incoming Labour Government would rush in emergency legislation imposing a price freeze until January 2017.
During that period, Labour would push through sweeping reforms to reduce the power of the “Big Six” energy companies and increase competition in the sector.
According to Labour, the price freeze would save a typical household £120 and an average business £1,800 over the 20-month period and would cost the energy firms an estimated £4.5bn.
Responding to Ed Miliband’s speech REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said: “We welcome Ed Miliband’s commitment to decarbonising the energy mix by 2030 and his understanding that our sector is a huge opportunity for green jobs and sustainable growth. We also welcome his focus on consumer affordability, as volatile gas prices have been pushing bills up and up for several years now. The big question is: How can Labour square a major reform of the consumer energy market and a freeze on energy bills with the urgent need for investment in new low carbon generation?
“Investment is already on hold as Government works through the details of Electricity Market Reform, so a freeze on bills must not be allowed to lead to another freeze in renewables investment. If we are to keep the lights on, boost our domestic energy supply, mitigate the risks of dangerous climate change, create green jobs in new industries and meet binding renewable energy targets, then we need to be accelerating the rate of growth in renewable energy and we cannot afford another investment hiatus.”
Support for renewable electricity currently accounts for £27 (2 per cent) out of the average dual fuel household bill of £1,346, according to Ofgem figures. The renewables industry currently supports 110,000 jobs across the value chain, with the potential for 400,000 in 2020 as the industry expands to meet the UK’s 2020 target of 15 per cent renewable energy.