An end to ‘rip-off’ energy bills could become law, following a campaign by Weston-super-Mare’s MP John Penrose.
He has been campaigning for the Government to put a cap on energy prices, as people who have not switched supplier are often paying far more than they would be as a new customer.
Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has published a draft bill to cap gas and electricity bills, which it is thought could save people about £100 a year.
It will apply to anyone on a standard variable tariff, the expensive plans customers are moved onto when their cheaper fixed deals end.
Mr Penrose said: “More than 26,000 families in Weston are paying £293 a year more than they should on their energy bills.
“That’s why I’ve led the national campaign to bring in an energy price cap and why I was delighted to see the bill published last week.
“213 MPs supported my cross-party campaign, which makes it one of the biggest and most successful ever. But we can’t rest on our laurels.
“The challenge now is getting this draft bill through Parliament quickly, so we can end the rip-off as soon as possible.”
It is estimated more than 9,000 homes in North Somerset are in fuel poverty, where families are forced to choose between food and heating.
The figures, from National Energy Action, show 10 per cent of households in North Somerset are plunged below the poverty line after paying their energy bills.
Mr Penrose previously told the Mercury: “Vulnerable and elderly customers are more likely to be on these bad tariffs than anyone else. Which, for a retirement town like Weston, spells trouble.”
It is estimated in real terms, energy prices have risen by more than 90 per cent in the past 15 years. Customers of the six biggest energy suppliers have also seen their bills increase by up to 10 per cent in the past 12 months.
It is expected the cap will not come into effect until the start of 2019 at the earliest, because the bill will still need to go through several stages in Parliament.
If it is passed, it will remain in place until the end of 2020, although the energy regulator Ofgem will be able to extend it until the end of 2023.