Labour promises to scrap energy regulator Ofgem

Caroline Flint Labour's Caroline Flint promised to get tough with energy companies

Labour has announced plans to get rid of the body charged with protecting consumer rights and regulating the gas and electricity market.

Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint told delegates at her party's conference "the time has come to say goodbye to Ofgem".

She said the regulator had failed to "get tough with the energy giants".

Unveiling new energy policies, Ms Flint said Labour could cut people's bills - even while not in government.

"I want to tell you and everyone at home that Labour may not run the country but we can help you cut your bills today," she told delegates.

She pointed to schemes in Belgium and Holland where people had switched energy providers collectively to achieve lower prices.

And she said that American co-operatives, councils and community organisations were "bringing people together to strike a better deal for their custom".

'Organise'

Labour has focused on promoting policies to reduce the cost of living without making new spending commitments, with leader Ed Miliband arguing the party is "on your side".

Ms Flint - Labour's spokeswoman on energy and climate change - urged conference delegates to tell people how to reduce their energy bills.

"I am asking you - knock on doors, deliver leaflets, organise community meetings, make the calls and the tweets.

"We can reach out to people who are paying too much but alone can't change that, and we can make a difference."

Announcing Labour's plans to replace energy regulator Ofgem, she said: "Why, when prices rise, do bills go up like a rocket but when they come down they fall like a feather - if at all?

"The reason is - they're allowed to run their businesses in such a complicated way that it's almost impossible to know what the true cost of energy is. This must end."

She said Labour would replace Ofgem with a more trustworthy regulator and force reluctant energy companies to pass on price reductions to customers.

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