Ed Davey has dismissed Labour leader Ed Miliband’s suggestion that a two-year price freeze would solve the issue of soaring energy bills as “highly irresponsible” and a “con”, the Independent has reported.
The Energy Secretary said the move is “highly irresponsible and fails to deliver what consumers want,” adding “we think it’s a con, because the energy companies will all shove up their prices before and certainly shove them up afterwards, so the consumer won’t get any benefit.”
Mr Davey said that the price freeze would hit the small, independent, gas and electricity companies much harder than the Big Six suppliers.
Mr Davey also put himself on a collision course with the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, and the Energy minister, Michael Fallon – all Tories who have said that a shale gas boom could bring energy prices down in the UK, as it has in the US.
It was by no means certain that there would be such a boom, said Mr Davey, and that, even if there was, this would not bring down prices. “I always focus on the evidence and analysis and the evidence and analysis suggests that, while shale gas may have many advantages, it is extremely unlikely that with the UK doing it alone there is going to be any price reduction as a result of shale gas.”
Mr Davey acknowledged that the EU is gradually moving towards a single energy market and that it already plays an active role in trying to keep prices down by promoting competition. However, he thinks much more needs to be done.