U.K.'s Rudd Vows to Pressure `Big Six' to Cut Energy Bills

U.K. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd vowed to keep the pressure on the “Big Six” utilities to lower their prices and ease the burden on consumers.

Rudd wrote to the utilities -- which supply about 90 percent of U.K. consumers with gas and electricity -- in June, urging them to reduce prices. Centrica Plc’s British Gas unit announced a cut to gas prices on July 15, and she said Thursday she’s calling on others to follow. The other five utilities are: SSE Plc, Electricite de France SA, RWE AG, Iberdrola SA and EON SE.

“Wholesale prices have stayed low and I’ll continue to press them to cut those bills, to keep them down, and potentially, as British Gas has done, to bring them down further,” Rudd told reporters at a lunch in Parliament in London. “It’s not over yet. I’m still pressing them.”

Rudd has made keeping energy costs down her priority since her Conservative Party won the general election in May and she took over control of the Energy Department from Ed Davey, a member of the Tories’ previous coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats. She’s announced cuts to subsidies for wind, solar and biomass power in an effort to reduce the impact on consumers, who pay for the subsidies on their bills.

“The plan is to make sure that we deliver secure electricity, low-carbon electricity and affordable electricity: those three things are what drives my department,” Rudd said, adding that “they don’t always pull in the same direction.”

“I’m going to make sure that the affordable element, the low-cost element is going to be leading and the other two are going to be moving together,” she said. “The three are going to move forward at the same time, not one getting out of hand against the other.”

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