Energy price freeze will not hit investment, claims shadow energy minister

PUBLISHED: 19:50 03 July 2014 | UPDATED: 19:53 03 July 2014

Keynote speaker Tom Greatrex, Labour's shadow energy minister at the EEEGR energy conference at the John Innes lecture hall.
Photo by Simon Finlay.

Keynote speaker Tom Greatrex, Labour's shadow energy minister at the EEEGR energy conference at the John Innes lecture hall. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Archant Norfolk.

Labour’s controversial plans to freeze energy prices will not reduce investment into UK infrastructure, the shadow energy minister has claimed.

Tom Greatrex said the party would underpin the government’s plans to encourage investment with its owns measures to bring greater transparency to consumers.

Speaking at the East of England Energy Group’s conference, Mr Greatrex backed the Coalition’s Electricity Market Reforms, which are designed to provide greater incentives to low carbon energy providers to help attract more than £110bn worth of investment into the UK electricity grid.

But he remained resolute that Labour’s 20-month energy price freeze – which would come into force if it won the next general election – was also crucial for consumers demanding a fairer deal.

It came as the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West said the party would also look to increase the borrowing powers of the Green Investment Bank to create a better financial deal for the renewable’s market.

“We want to get some transparency as to how the market works to give confidence to the public and consumers so they understand what they are paying and when,” he said.

“This is a debate about energy that is politically charged, but there is also a shared understanding and appreciation that there is a lot to do, with only a short period of time to do it in.

“The more time we spend debating the less time we have to act.

“We need to build on the EMR to bring measures for transparency with the same objectives that bring investment and job opportunities to the east of England.”

“An energy price freeze is part of the package of reforms that we published in a green paper back in November.

“We want to address the situation in 2008/09 where wholesale prices increased and retails prices went up, then whole sale prices came down and the retail prices didn’t. We think that there should be some recompense for consumers.” 
He added: “We are very well aware the need to lever in that investment and we want to offer the best long-term framework for this to happen.”

Mr Greatrex was the keynote speaker at the EEEGR energy conference held today at the John Innes Centre in Norwich.

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