Monday, 11 June 2012

Losing energy

Energy bills are soaring, driving up inflation and contributing to the cost of living crisis afflicting millions of families hit by the recession. At the same time, energy companies are enjoying huge profits.

This week, it was revealed that an energy trader for E.ON – one of the Big Six energy companies operating in the UK – had lost £20m betting on European energy prices. There is no transparency in the speculative trading activities of the energy companies.

There is now a real suspicion that the COMPANIES are privatising the profits from this speculation – for the benefit of the shareholders - whilst socializing the losses – meaning that we all meet the cost of those losses in our bills. I’ve written to the regulator, OFGEM requesting a comprehensive investigation.

The government’s only answers to rising energy bills are to tell consumers they’re to blame for not shopping around enough and to cut back on the support it is offering to help people heat their homes.

There are things the government could do.
  • First, it could make the energy companies check that all pensioners over 75 are on the cheapest possible tariff – saving up to 4 million pensioners as much as £200 a year.
  • Second, it could make the energy companies ensure that all vulnerable pensioners and low-income families with children at risk of fuel poverty, and who receive the Cold Weather Payment, automatically receive the Warm Homes Discount.
  • Third, it could reform the energy market by breaking the dominance of the Big Six, by requiring them to sell power into a pool, allowing new businesses to enter the market, increasing competition and driving down energy bills for families and businesses.
  • Fourthly, it could protect small businesses from the energy companies’ rip-off tactics.

But, I don’t expect it will.