The Socialist 10 February 2021 |
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Big Energy piles on the misery
Energy regulator Ofgem has raised the price cap on what gas and electricity companies can charge 15 million households by between £87 and £96 a year (£1,156 or £1,138) - a 9% increase - from 1 April. The price cap is the maximum energy companies can charge consumers.
This sizeable price rise comes at a time when many households' incomes have been pummelled by the effects of the pandemic, including wage and job cuts.
It also will hit poor households at exactly the same time as Chancellor Rishi Sunak is planning to claw back the £20 pandemic increase in Universal Credit. Before the pandemic hit us, 'fuel poverty' was already affecting over 10% of households in the UK.
Industry-friendly Ofgem boss Jonathan Brearley blithely told customers that "if they want to avoid the increase in April they should shop around for a cheaper deal".
But £23 of this increase is energy companies clawing back costs incurred from unpaid consumer bills.
Energy companies are also accused of passing on to consumers the Climate Change Levy - the government's environment tax - and the cost of installing smart meters (even though companies save administration costs).
The nationalisation of 'big energy', which could mean clean energy generation and lower household fuel bills, is long overdue.