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David Cameron's energy team unable to explain price pledge | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Confusion over David Cameron's commitment to forcing energy companies to place customers on their lowest tariffs deepened on Thursday, with neither the energy secretary nor the energy minister able to explain its meaning.

The Guardian can confirm that Davey knew nothing about Cameron's pledge before it was made.

Energy minister John Hayes was summoned to the House of Commons to answer an urgent question from Labour. He was unable to confirm Cameron's announcement, instead saying the government would legislate to "help" get the best deal. "There are a number of options that are being considered, for example [the April agreement] which will be evaluated to see if we should make legislation binding," Hayes told MPs. "This is a complicated area and we will discuss it with the industry, consumer groups and the regulator in order to work through the detail."

Asked whether he knew what was going to be announced, Hayes said: "Of course we understand what the prime minister was considering because we have been debating and discussing the provisions of the energy bill for months."

The shadow energy secretary, Caroline Flint, said Cameron's intervention had thrown the government's policy into "confusion" and "caused chaos" in the industry.

The idea that you can keep energy prices down through competition between retailers is richly comical, of course, and a mere sideshow, but this does illustrate the deep disarray of the UK government's energy policy :

Neil Bentley, deputy director general of the CBI, which is urging the government to end its feud over energy policy and back the green economy, told the Guardian: "We are seeking policy clarity like everybody else. If competition is to work, consumers have to have a choice of tariffs. I'm not quite sure where the prime minister was coming from."

The confusion over Cameron's announcement comes as infighting over energy reached the "quad" - Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander - that runs the coalition. The chancellor is believed to be seeking to limit investment in renewable energy and promote a new "dash for gas", while the Liberal Democrats are seeking a new carbon-cutting target for 2030 to be included in the forthcoming energy bill, due in November.

Which reminds me : how come we don't get a shale gas button in the model? Or a perpetual-motion-machine button, while we're at it?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Oct 18th, 2012 at 08:45:19 AM EST

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