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Friday, 11 October 2013

The first cartel member announces an 8.2% increase


Energy price rise sparks new political row over power bills


Another member of the energy companies cartel, announces price increases way above the level of inflation, which will undoubtedly increase their already obscene levels of profits at the expense of the consumer. This news comes just weeks after a report in the “Guardian” warning consumers that “Energy firms expected to increase prices by 8%” and reported on this Blog on September 21st under the heading of “The energy suppliers cartel prepare to announce big price increases, again.” Even more evidence, if more were actually needed, that these predominately, but not exclusively, foreign owned energy companies, selling the wholesale energy product to themselves through a myriad of murky subsidiaries and associated companies, (each making substantial profits during the process), are out of control, ungovernable and impervious to any form of criticism or suggestion.
The statement from SSE that their prices will rise by 8.2% will not be welcome to around 7 million households in this country. Over the next few weeks, when the remaining members of the cartel announce their price hikes, again expected to be well above the rate of inflation, will be seen by many more households as justification for government intervention to control and limit the annual excesses of these extortionists.
The “market” for the supply of energy is corrupt, partial and works only to the benefit of increasing companies profit at the cost of consumers. The advice from government, the energy “watchdog” and the company public relations spin doctors is for the consumer to switch suppliers and ensure that they are given the lowest possible tarrier from the plethora of tariffs available. Lip service to a myth. The cartel ensures that in general that as they collectively set the artificial prices, their tariffs vary only marginally albeit masquerading under various description or titles.
The latest intervention from Ed Miliband and the Labour party, to freeze energy bills for 20 months following the 2015 election, provided that Labour secure a majority to form a government, seems to be an attractive option, but only tinkers at the margins of the problem. The real, long term solution is to legislate to cap price rises to the level of inflation or lower, as many working people have had to endure now for the last 5 years, and to couple this with the gradual incorporation of energy companies into the public sector. Before someone somewhere trots out the old cliché that the EU will not allow this under their restraint of trade measures or some other nebulous piece of European nonsense, the politicians should remember that they have been elected to represent the people of this country, not some faceless collection of bureaucrats lurking in the shadows of come corridor in Brussels.
The energy companies cannot expect to be able to inflict price hikes, sometimes two or three times each year, without some form of backlash or protest from their long suffering customers. We know that they cheat and manipulate figure to justify price rises. We know that their friends in government will do nothing to control them. We know that they and their foreign controlled wholesale companies will move heaven and earth to resist change and to maintain their cartel monopolistic position.
They should be made aware that the good days (for them) are coming to an end and that the gravy train is running into the buffers.