UCL Faculty of Laws


The Energy Price Cap: Towards a ‘Fairer Market’ for the UK Consumers?

23 January 2019, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

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Event Information

Open to



UCL Laws Events


UCL Faculty of Laws
Bentham House
Endsleigh Gardens

An event organised by the UCl Centre for Law, Economics & Society


About the event

The UK liberalised retail energy market has been at the center of political and policy debates in recent years; and understandably so. The provision of energy supply is an essential service, crucial for society’s territorial and societal cohesion. Yet, the retail energy market has been failing consumers. Household energy bills have increased in recent years, raising concerns in relation to energy affordability, especially for low-income consumers. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that interventionist measures seeking to address the level of retail energy prices have resurfaced, despite ambitions that retail energy liberalisation would reduce state interference.

Such interventionist appetite reached its peak with the adoption of the UK Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Act (‘Tariff Cap Act’), which received Royal Assent on 19th July 2018. The Act puts in place a requirement on the independent regulator, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), to set a price cap on standard variable tariffs (SVTs). It is estimated that this price cap will protect around 12 million households in England, Wales and Scotland, who currently buy their energy on this basis and who are not protected by existing price caps that are applied to consumers with prepayment meters and vulnerable consumers receiving the Warm Homes Discount. It is being designed and delivered by Ofgem and will apply until the end of 2020 at first instance, when the regulator will recommend to the government whether it should be extended on an annual basis up to 2023.

The purpose of the event is threefold. First, to examine the design and implementation of the price cap. Second, to reflect on the interaction of the price cap, essentially a consumer protection measure with the ongoing process of consumer empowerment. Can price caps be reconciled both conceptually and practically with the process of competition and consumer empowerment? Finally, to explore the legal implications of the price cap, with a focus on appeals against the price cap.

Download a useful background paper from SSRN

Structure of the Event

  • Introduction and Setting the Scene: Dr Deni Mantzari, UCL Laws
  • View from the Regulator: Mr Joe Perkins, Chief Economist, Ofgem
  • View from Academia: Dr Maria Ioannidou, QMUL
  • View from the Bar: Meredith Pickford QC, Barrister Monckton Chambers (TBC)
  • The Economist's view: Professor Stephen Littlechild, University of Cambridge
  • Concluding remarks: Dr Deni Mantzari (UCL)

Learning outcomes

  • To appreciate the interplay between consumer protection and consumer empowerment in essential services, such as energy supply
  • To understand price cap regulation and its implications for the competitive process
  • To appreciate the impact of behavioural insights on consumer behaviour


£15 Standard Fee
Free of charge for full time academics / NGOs / Government departments and students

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