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From: The Socialist issue 784, 16 October 2013: Tories' rags and riches Britain

Search site for keywords: Inflation - Cuts - Green - Government - Nuclear power

SSE: So Sodding Expensive!

John Sharpe

An estimated 7,000 pensioners died between December 2011 and March 2012 because their homes were too cold. 6.7% of the population live in fuel poverty - up 50% since 2010.

Meanwhile ten million SSE customers face an average 8.2% rise in their fuel bills - three times the rate of inflation. And this follows 9% last year. The rise in the South East is 9.7%.

Average fuel bills could hit 1,465. In 2004 the average was just 525. This is against a background of pay cuts, pay freezes and benefit cuts.

"We're sorry" said SSE's boss Will Morris.

SSE recently reported profits of 1.4 billion, up 5.6% on last year. 515 million was paid out in dividends and SSE has repeated its promise of an above inflation rise in dividends this year.

Three top directors at the company received more than 6 million in pay and perks last year, including 2.6 million to chief executive Ian Marchant. He recently stepped down with a 10.4 million pension and 4.8 million in shares.

Earlier this year SSE was ordered to pay 10.5 million by regulator Ofgem for conning customers into thinking they were on the cheapest tariffs.

"I'm disappointed" says government minister Michael Fallon. His advice: "Change supplier." So, as expected, nothing to do with me guv, you're responsible. Isn't every commentator predicting the other companies will do the same?

SSE has blamed "green taxes". But that accounts for less than a fifth of the rise and most of that goes to help poorer families with insulation according to Lord Green who wrote the review of climate change economics.

The government is about to announce a long-term price support deal for EDF's planned Hinkley C nuclear power station.

The price is reported to be roughly double the current market rate for electricity, and is locked in for 35 years.

We're 'sorry' and 'disappointed' too. But not half as sorry and disappointed as these gangsters will be when the whole of the energy industry is democratically nationalised.

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Article dated 16 October 2013

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