Commenting on the annual energy statement, Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, accused the Government of not being serious abut breaking the stranglehold of the Big Six, and called for serious investment in energy efficiency to cut bills and address climate change.
The Green MP said:
"Being told to switch isn't much use when the odds are totally rigged in favour of a handful of big companies.
"If the Government were serious about breaking the stranglehold of the Big Six, it would be supporting locally owned energy projects. It's quite shocking that the Energy Secretary's announcement contained no mention of community energy. Support for community and co-operatively owned renewable schemes, where people benefit from generating their own power, is pathetically poor compared to the lavish subsidy the nuclear industry has just received.
"We need serious investment in energy efficiency, with Government action to ensure that every home is properly insulated. Making our housing stock much more energy efficient would help tackle climate change, cut bills, bring nine out of ten homes out of fuel poverty, and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs.
"And we need to address our dependence on gas, which is the underlying reason people are seeing higher bills. Until we move away from fossil fuels towards a low-carbon future, no amount of tinkering around the edges of our flawed market will help consumers.
"Addressing the enormous risks that climate change presents to people in the UK and elsewhere means keeping the vast majority of existing fossil fuels in the ground. Yet ministers continue to listen to fossil fuel lobbyists rather than climate scientists."
Lucas also criticised the close links between Government and the Big Six energy companies:
"It might be easier to take the Energy Secretary's outrage seriously if dozens of employees from the Big Six were not working inside his department, often paid for by taxpayers. He should be taking action to close the revolving door – which was wedged open under the previous Government too – between Whitehall and the vested interests of the big energy companies."