Turning up the Heat on Energy Companies
Households across Inverclyde would have acted in dismay last week as they received a letter from Scottish Gas informing them that their energy bills would increase yet again.
The usual excuses where present, their hands were tied, it was out of their control and it wasn’t their fault that fuel bills will be hiked up.
Of course what the letter failed to mention is that British Gas profits had soared 23% to £345million in the first half of 2012. It also neglected to mention that Centrica - the company that owns British Gas - saw its profits jump to one and a half billion.
This follows the announcement from British Gas rivals SSE, which trades as Scottish Hydro, Swalec and Southern Electric, that they will raise prices by an average of 9%.
You would have thought that when households are already feeling the pinch, when budgets are being squeezed and the cost of living is going up, that energy companies would ease the pressure on loyal customers, not make matters worse.
The big energy companies have a moral obligation to stand by working families in tough times. Unfortunately, they appear to have resoundingly failed in meeting this obligation.
Last week, I joined with Iain McKenzie MP to launch Labour’s campaign to Switch Together in Greenock’s town centre, to encourage consumers to fight back against energy companies and get a better deal. Switch Together gives consumers the chance to save money by clubbing together to buy bulk gas and electricity.
But we also need the UK government to turn up the heat on the energy companies.
It must take steps to introduce a new regulatory body that will be tough on the energy giants to ensure that hard pressed families and pensioners do not continue to see increased energy prices at a time when they can least afford it.