LONDON (Reuters) - Any price cap on energy tariffs in Britain should be for a limited period and reviewed regularly, the country’s second-largest energy supplier, SSE, said on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party has pledged to cap domestic energy tariffs if it is re-elected in a national election next month, responding to voter discontent about energy bills that have doubled over the past decade.
Its proposal sent SSE’s and rival Centrica’s share prices down by as much as 5 percent last week as a price cap would hurt their revenue.
In its first comments on the subject, SSE said on Wednesday that if a price cap were introduced it should be for a limited period and reviewed regularly to account for changes in wholesale prices and environmental and social policy charges.
“A price cap could be introduced; our concern is whether it should be,” SSE said in a statement.
May’s Conservatives are well ahead in opinion polls ahead of the June 8 election. The opposition Labour party has previously also called for freezing energy tariffs.
The head of Centrica has similar concerns on the price cap proposal, saying the pledge showed some in May’s government did not believe in free markets at a time when she is pinning the UK economy’s post-Brexit hopes on free trade.
A two-year review of Britain’s energy market by the competition watchdog concluded last year that customers had been overcharged 1.4 billion pounds a year and that a price cap was needed for certain customers who use a prepayment metre.
Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Susan Fenton