The much criticised Government mandated "price cap" for default tariffs (in truth, a price control, not a price cap - see also Energy History 2017-18) came into force towards the end of 2018 but rising oil/gas prices forced Ofgem to announce a 10% increase from early February 2019. The rise was inevitable and experts had always predicted that such increases would be necessary if oil/gas prices rose, but the public and media reaction was savage nonetheless. Here is the Evening Standard's editorial comment:
How do you turn a “Marxist” plan to cap energy bills into a pledge to help people “ripped off by energy companies for far too long”? You can’t, as 11 million unlucky households are finding out today. The energy price cap was a terrible idea when Labour’s Ed Miliband proposed it in 2013. And it was still a terrible idea when the Conservatives stole it four years later. Now everyone can see why: because it doesn’t work. Announcing a cap doesn’t make gas or power any cheaper. It lasted only three months and goes up by 10 per cent today, taking average bills on variable tariffs to £1,254 a year — a total £1.71 billion rise. In August it will change again. That’s not a cap — it’s a flexible price mis-sold to voters. The better way to keep energy bills low is to shop around in a competitive market. It’s no surprise, then, that the regulator, Ofgem, told consumers to do just that when it broke news of the Government’s useless gimmick this morning.