Energy bosses call on Tories to end leadership race and focus on energy prices

The government needs to intervene before prices rise yet again, energy CEOs told Political Correspondent Libby Wiener

Energy bosses have called on the Conservative Party to cut short its leadership campaign and focus on freezing energy prices.

Either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will be confirmed as Boris Johnson's successor on September 5.

It is unlikely any major policy changes will be implemented before this date, despite expectations the energy regulator will set the price cap at almost double its current amount.

Analysts believe consumers could go from paying as much as £1,971 a year, to a maximum of around £3,600.

Predictions for future price cap increases are expected to be worse with them rising to £4,650 in January and £5,300 in April.

The forecasts are produced by Cornwall Insight, who said it "is difficult to see how many will cope with the coming winter.”Bill Bullen, chief executive of Utilita, called for the government to intervene before Ofgem makes its announcement.

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He told ITV News: "This announcement on Friday just shouldn't be happening.

"And the only reason it is happening is because of a leadership election which needs to be terminated quicker."

Dale Vince from Ecotricity also called for the Conservative party to act.

He said: "The obvious thing to do in the short term for the government is to take away these crazy price increases.

"Energy bills will three times higher this October than last October and they could do that currently for a sum equal to about 10% of what we spent during the pandemic.”

The squeeze on gas supplies in Europe has helped drive up household bills and fuel rocketing inflation.

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Fellow energy chief Greg Jackson said that if beer prices had risen at the same rate as energy, a pint could cost £25.

“There are systemic issues. There are loads of questions of how we pay for this. One thing we can’t do is be expected to pass those costs on to consumers,” the Octopus Energy told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday.The prime minister has been accused by critics of leading a “zombie government” with major decisions deferred until the new occupant takes over in No 10. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the government was doing “absolutely nothing” to resolve industrial disputes and help ease the cost-of-living crunch ahead of Friday's announcement.

He said: "Unless action is taken, energy bills are going to go through the roof this winter, which is why we, the Labour party, have said we should freeze energy prices, not let those bills go up, and pay for that in part with a windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

"They're making huge, huge profits."