Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed price cap on domestic energy bills has been criticised by the power industry.

Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of trade body Energy UK, warned it was important not to risk halting the growth of competition and engagement in the market.

Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at price comparison website Uswitch, argued that the price cap wouldn’t work and added: “The UK Government should instead push suppliers to proactively get their customers off expensive standard tariffs and set targets to encourage more customers to make a choice about their energy deal.”

Suppliers already acting

Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesses will be confused by the Prime Minister’s commitment to free markets, on the one hand, and her stated intention to intervene in the energy market, on the other.

“Attention must be paid to avoid unintended consequences that drive up costs to consumers or businesses.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, branded the price cap as “an example of state intervention that misses the mark” and added: “Suppliers are already acting, providing support to those on pre-payment meters, and continued action to phase out standard variable tariffs would benefit a wide range of consumers, including those on the lowest incomes.”

But Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of consumer body Citizens Advice, welcomed the move and said: “The Prime Minister’s announcement of a cap on energy bills could provide a solution to the runaway energy costs that the millions of people on default tariffs have faced for years.”

> Read May's speech in full