Ed Miliband’s attempt to secure new powers for Ofgem to make energy suppliers pass on price cuts failed when MPs voted down the plan.
The Labour leader revealed the idea over the weekend, resurrecting energy prices as a hot issue ahead of May’s general election.
In a Labour motion for Opposition Day, 305 MPs voted against it, 228 in favour.
Earlier at the despatch box, Labour’s Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint hammered home her criticism of suppliers for not passing on drops in wholesale prices.
She pointed to statistics from price reporting agency Platts suggesting gas prices fell by 26% last year on the day-ahead markets, between November 2013 and November 2014. On the forward market it was “bigger still”, she said, with gas prices falling by as much as 30%.
She said: “There can be no doubt that the wholesale prices of both gas and electricity have fallen—not just a little, but quite a lot and not just in the past few days or weeks, but for a sustained period of more than a year.”
A verbal battle raged in the chamber before the vote, with Energy Secretary Ed Davey claiming Labour could cause “yo-yo pricing” while backbenchers defended the move as protecting British consumers.