LONDON — Shares in UK energy companies plunged to multi-year lows on Wednesday after Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to cap prices in the near future.
Delivering a speech marred by controversies at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, May said she plans to write a law that will prevent energy companies hiking prices aggressively, saying current rules punish loyal customers.
“We will always take on monopolies and vested interests when they are holding people back,” May told the conference.
“One of the greatest examples in Britain today is the broken energy market, because the energy market punishes loyalty with higher prices. The most loyal customers are often those with lower incomes, the elderly, people with lower qualifications, and people who rent their homes.
“That’s why next week this government will publish a draft bill to put a price cap on energy bills, meeting our manifesto promise, and bringing an end to rip-off energy prices once and for all.”
Shares in Centrica — the parent company of both British and Scottish Gas — and SSE plunged to multi-year lows following the announcement, reflecting fears that the cap will impact profits going forward.
Here’s how both stocks look as of just after 1.00 p.m. BST — note the big drops just after 12.30 p.m. BST, as May delivered her speech: