Sunday, 12 February 2012
How Can We Stop Energy Companies Ripping Us Off?
The six biggest energy companies in Britain are about to announce bumper profits in the wake of sub-zero temperatures across Europe. Their profits, it is suggested, will be £2 billion up on last year at £15 billion. That's £250 for every man, woman and child in the country. Ed Davy, the new Energy Minister, has trotted out the usual mantra; "I want a more competative energy market delivering the best deal for consumers." Bully for you, but wasn't flogging off the energy industry to private companies supposed to do that anyway? Caroline Flint, the Shadow Energy Secretary, was next up; "The prices energy companies charge are opaque, so we need to open up the books of the energy giants so that people can see for themselves what price they buy and sell energy at, and whether they are getting a fair deal or not. Where there has been mis-selling, customers should get proper compensation." No, they need to be renationalised so that they spend their time providing a service instead of shovelling money into their own pockets. We've had this nonsense for 30 years now - private companies deliver lower prices and provide a better service because of competition and because they are more efficient - and all we have to show for it are higher prices, declining service and a minority free to stuff our money into their bank accounts. We see the same thing on the railways where we now have the highest prices per mile travelled in the world. The only competition that seems to be going on is who can rip us off with the greatest efficiency.