Regulatory economist Martin Cave has been appointed as Ofgem’s new chairman as the watchdog looks to toughen its stance on energy firms with its impending price cap on energy bills.
A Whitehall source said: “This appointment would send a clear signal to retail energy bosses that the government wants a strong regulator to design and bring in the cap ahead of the winter and protect millions of households from unfair price rises.”
The appointment of business secretary Greg Clark’s preferred candidate is a sign that the government will not back down from its energy price cap.
During his time as deputy panel chair of the Competition and Markets Authority, Cave was the watchdog’s only voice calling for a price cap.
He said a cap should be introduced as soon as possible “to protect customers from further exploitation”.
Cave said the cap would not threaten energy companies, as long as they manage their costs.
He told MPs: “The imposition of a wide price cap on default [tariffs] would promote efficiency in supply and need not endanger the survival of efficient providers.”
Four of the Big Six energy companies have announced increases to their energy bill in recent months, which ministers have used to justify the need for a price cap.
The measure is expected to be in place by the end of the year, in time for winter.