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Saturday, 4 February 2017

Another price hike from a privatised foreign owned energy supplier

Npower is to increase its electricity and gas prices for 1.4 million customers

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One of the greatest lies ever foisted upon the British people was that repeated almost daily during the 1980's by the Thatcher government. The deception, which gave proof to the theory that if you tell a big enough lie and repeat it often, people will accept it as truth. The great falsehood filling the media, being repeated at every opportunity by conservative politicians and being driven by those with their own, not very well hidden agendas, met the conditions for forceful propaganda, being short and easily remembered. "Privatisation introduces competition, drives down costs and improves services". The history of privatised industries since 1980 is littered with examples evidencing that far from being the great blessing for the consumers as promised by the hype spewed out at the time, the customers and the workers employed in such industries, have invariably been given a very raw deal for the benefit of the company and its shareholders. Prices have risen significantly, usually well above the rate of inflation, and the number of people working for these companies have been substantially reduced. At the same time, the profits accruing to the businesses have continued to rise year on year as the services provided have deteriorated. The link between rising prices, reduced staff levels and increasing profits, is not a coincidence.

The latest "twist" in the annual round of price hikes, is that revealed yesterday (3rd February 2017) by Npower, a subsidiary company of RWE AG, a German electric utilities company based in Essen, announcing a 15% increase in electricity prices and a 4.8% rise for gas, earning the company an additional £152 million per year, and raising the average annual household bill by £109 to £1,187 a year. The industry "watchdog" OFGEM has called on Npower to “justify the decision”, demonstrating yet again that the "watchdog" for this and other privatised industries have a whining, whimpering bark but few (if any) teeth with which to frighten those responsible for the profiteering.
Three of the other big suppliers, British Gas, E.on and SSE have their prices fixed until the end of March, but will no doubt announce price hikes shortly thereafter in April, followed by the other energy suppliers who have not already put forward their own price increases by that time. This regular procession of "follow my leader", makes a mockery of the advice usually spewed out to the effect that consumers should switch suppliers for the best deals. When all suppliers are profiteering with cartel like price increases, the only winners in this charade are the energy companies, invariably foreign owned, themselves who are raking in the excess cash.

The latest price increases, and those certainly to follow, will only increase the incidence of fuel poverty in this country as more people fall into the trap created by profiteering companies and a government which shows a callous disregard for the hardship which they have created. Those least able to afford the higher charges, the sick, those on benefits, our pensioners, the disabled will be faced with the choice which has become even more prevalent in society today. Heat or eat, is not a catch phrase to make a point. It is the reality facing more and more people in our country today and is a direct consequence of the lies spread by government of the 1980's.