Energy regulator unveils price cap plans for 'vulnerable' households

The regulator said the move will save affected households £120 a year on average

The cap is not expected to take effect until winter 2018/19 at the earliest.

The regulator will extend its prepayment safeguard tariff which helps support low-income households.

ONE million households will save £120 a year on average under new plans announced by Ofgem.

The Competition and Markets Authority said thousands of customers of the Big Six energy suppliers were paying £1.4bn a year more than they needed to.

The BBC understands that Ofgem is reluctant to do so because it believes energy companies could challenge its decision.

Speaking ahead of the draft bill's publication, Mrs May said: "I have been clear that our broken energy market has to change - it has to offer fairer prices for millions of loyal customers who have been paying hundreds of pounds too much".

Once the law is passed, Ofgem would need to launch a statutory consultation process of around 50-60 days and then allow energy suppliers further time to implement the measure, meaning it could not be in place this winter.

What is a standard variable tariff?

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What happens in the meantime?

. Customers are still likely to be better off by searching and switching themselves.

Around two-thirds of all energy customers in the United Kingdom are now on these variable tariffs.

"I would challenge the entire industry to say the standard variable tariffs are not good deals".

Mr Lewis reinterated E.on's plans to move all customers off its standard variable tariff from next year.

Mr Nolan, perhaps, sees the next twist in the price cap saga's plot.

Britain said on Thursday it would ask the regulator Ofgem to devise a price cap for consumer energy tariffs, but did not provide any specific details on how the cap would work for suppliers trying to gauge the impact on their business.

In mid-afternoon trading, energy firms Centrica - who owns British Gas - SSE and German provider RWE, were all trading in positive territory.

Officials said that the ceiling on electricity and gas bills would last until the end of 2020, which is also the government's deadline for when all homes should have been offered a smart meter, which enable new types of tariffs.