Both coalition parties remain scarred by the political potency of Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy prices. They are determined to do what they can to stop this issue gaining salience again.
So, it is telling that Ed Davey and Michael Fallon have both personally signed up to The Big Deal, a new initiative designed to gets consumers cheaper energy bills through bulk buying. Their decision to sign up shows how it is politically imperative to be seen as on the side of the customer rather than the producer when it comes to energy. (It is also testament to how well connected the campaign is in Westminster.) No politician wants to look like they are defending the big six energy companies at the moment.
The question is how best to end the market dominance of the big six energy companies – through consumer power or state action. If it can be shown that the market can drive prices down then Miliband’s price freeze pledge will have less appeal than it does now.