Power firms 'will be forced to cut prices'

Ministers have given the starkest warning yet that they will legislate to bring down fuel prices if the power companies don't act soon to reflect falling oil costs.

Commons Leader Harriet Harman said: "The energy companies must pass on the price cuts to consumers - both businesses and families. They must also treat all consumers fairly.

"And if they don't it won't just be Ofgem and the Competition Commission they'll have to worry about. We will change the law to force them to do it."

Standing in for the Prime Minister, who is in Iraq, at question time, Harman's comments reflect growing impatience among ministers over the failure of the power companies to cut bills after raising them massively when oil prices soared earlier this year.

She was responding to Labour's Brian Donohoe (Central Ayrshire) who said: "At a time when the price of a barrel of oil has sunk like a stone, why is it that the energy companies are charging the price they are for fuel?

"Surely it is time for more to be done by the Government ... in bringing down the price.

"Will you give me an assurance to take back to my constituents that the Government is doing all they can to bring about lower energy prices?"

Harman said she "absolutely agreed" with the MP.

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