Ministers 'considering best way to protect consumers from rip-off energy prices'

Updated: 

The Conservatives have said they will go ahead with plans to cap "rip-off" energy prices - although not necessarily through legislation.

The Queen's Speech did not include a bill to enforce the cap -  announced during the election campaign - but said ministers were "considering the best way" to protect customers on the poorest-value tariffs.

A senior party source said they were talking to the regulator Ofgem as how best to curb prices, with the option of legislation being held "in reserve" if they could not achieve their aims through other means.

"Our intention is to protect those people who we set out on standard variable tariffs from rip-off energy price rises," the source said.

"That is what we are talking about, that is what we want to do and that is why we are holding legislation in reserve."

During the campaign, the Tories said 17 million families on poor-value standard variable tariffs stood to save up to £100 a year as a result of the cap.   

In the Commons, Theresa May said the Government intended to "take action" on the issue but did not give further details.

"We recognise the problem that there is in relation to energy bills," she told MPs in the Queen's Speech debate.

"We want to ensure that we get the best measure in place that is going to deliver what we all want, which is to see people no longer being ripped off by the high energy tariffs that they are given."