David Cameron seems to have caught everyone by surprise, including the energy firms and his own colleagues, with his on-the-hoof policymaking about energy tariffs.
But perhaps it should not be so much of a surprise that a politician is attempting to tap in to popular sentiment – that sentiment being that in a time of very low inflation, the energy companies are ripping consumers off with successive huge price hikes.
It is a gamble. History is littered with examples of governments which tried to mess with the markets and got stung as a result.
The markets are by their very nature unruly and dynamic, and highly resistant to attempts to tame and control them.
Already there has been a qualification by the Department for Energy of Mr Cameron’s headline announcement that he would force gas and electricity suppliers to offer customers their lowest tariffs.
The department says it is looking at “all options” to help customers get the best deal.
Would the Cameron plan be feasible? If companies are to be forced to give customers the best deal, it follows that there has to be somebody to judge, presumably independently, what the best deal is.
Energy companies will argue that the cheapest tariff is not necessarily the best deal.
And what about householders who, for environmental or ideological reasons – they may perhaps only want energy from “green” energy sources – may actually opt to pay a little extra?
While Mr Cameron is straying into a policy area fraught with practical difficulties, he has at least started a debate and fired a much-needed shot across the bows of the energy companies.
The problem is that it smacks of opportunism and shooting from the lip rather than an exercise of joined up policy thinking.