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Labour to propose new energy price controls

 

Amid warnings of blackouts from energy companies, Labour leader Ed Miliband is due to propose greater controls over energy prices with the aim of helping small businesses.

 

Despite concerns expressed by energy firm Centrica, Mr Miliband is planning to call a Commons vote next week to demand an immediate price freeze for business and domestic customers. Centrica’s chief executive, Sam Laidlaw, said there would be less ‘enthusiasm’ for investing in new power plants as an ‘inevitable consequence’ of the recent inquiry into profits.

 

The Coalition Government and Labour are each claiming credit for regulator Ofgem’s decision to investigate alleged profiteering.

 

In other energy matters, the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) recently reported that the UK is now a net importer of petroleum products, after the closure of refineries and increased competition.

 

The DECC said: ‘Crude oil import dependence has been on an increasing trend as the production from the UK Continental Shelf continues to decline’.

 

The Office for Budget Responsibility last week downgraded its forecast for North Sea oil and gas tax receipts by a further £3 billion for 2014/15.