As the clocks go back in the UK and the dark evenings start earlier, the British public are about to be robbed blind once more as the energy companies cash in on the winter. Scottish and Southern Energy are the first to move with their announced rise of 9% (no, it’s not a typo) which is four` times the rate of inflation.
No doubt the other companies will be doing the same as they once more club together in their unholy and obnoxious unofficial cartel. Meanwhile, there is a VAT increase due in January, public spending cuts that will only get worse and – nearly forgot – predictions from some quarters of another long and very cold winter. Some might say it is a licence for the energy companies to print money, others might suggest it is legalised theft.
So much for so little…just click on the image above
All the excuses in the world won’t alter the fact that, having peaked in 2008, wholesale gas prices have fallen by 40% and only an average 4% of that cut was passed on to consumers. Mind you, that is not the story trotted out by Scottish and Southern, oh no.
Alistair Phillips-Davies, energy supply director of SSE, said: “The last few months have been marked by rising wholesale gas prices and, having absorbed losses in our gas supply business for some time, we can not delay an increase in retail prices any longer.”
I presume by ‘losses’ he means the inability to justify ripping off his customers in the usual way. In any case, we had all this rubbish from the enery companies last year. It was as unjustified then as it is now.
Consumer groups have reacted angrily to SSE’s price increase. Audrey Gallacher of lobby group Consumer Focus says: ‘For the past year we have argued that companies should have cut prices when wholesale costs were low.
‘They did not and consumers missed out. SSE’s gas prices have fallen by 2% since wholesale costs peaked in 2008 while the wholesale gas price is still more than 40% lower than it was.’
Were we in France, this could not happen as the French Government have placed a cap on the amount that energy can cost. They believe in protecting their citizens, unlike the British Government who are mainly millionaires anyway and so will not be affected to any great extent.
Meanwhile, the benefits to the poorest are to be at best frozen (like the people will be) and in some cases cut altogether. The winter fuel payment will continue to be paid to thousands who don’t actually need it and those who are not old enough to receive it will again have to choose between starving or freezing.
TheOpinionSite.org draws the conclusion that there is little, if any difference between the blood-sucking bankers in the UK and the similarly blood-sucking energy companies. This should not come as a surprise though as many of the same executives sit on the boards of both the banks and energy companies.
As for the new, shiny coalition government, they are pathetic, as were their predecessors when it came to reigning in the excesses of these companies; but then they would be, as the members of the Government tend to hold shares in the very same banks and energy companies that are systematically – and legally – robbing the rest of us blind.
So, what can you do about it? Well, not much actually as the cartel that supposedly doesn’t exist starts to rev up for action, except not pay your exorbitant bill when it arrives. If everyone refused to pay it, the companies would have to listen – and so would this pathetically weak government.
Trouble is, the British themselves are pathetic when it comes to working together, principally because they are too selfish to care about anyone else or the collective good.
So don’t hold your breath. The Government benefits from the price increases as much as the companies themselves through the tax returns it receives. Cameron and Clegg will do nothing to help you as they have a vested interest in getting you to pay as much as possible.
Of course, Cameron and Clegg could always copy the French and impose a price cap – but that wouldn’t be very ‘British’ would it? Much better therefore that they follow the American model as they always do (poodles have to obey or they can’t come into the house) and allow the companies to charge as much as they like for as long as they like.
As for the rest of us, I am reminded of a very true saying: “If you do nothing, nothing will change” and the British are masters at doing nothing about the things that really matter. It was true last year, it is true again now.
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