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Saturday, 8 October 2011

As winter approach's many face tough decisions on fuel bills

As we approach winter with the dark nights drawing in and the first frosts of the autumn arriving. People right across the country will be pressured more than ever to try and find ways of reducing their energy bills and to heat and keep their homes going.

Winter time can be particularly challenging for the elderly and the poor and this year as we face another hard winter of austerity and cut backs. The energy companies have felt the need to squeeze even more out of us and decided a few months back to put up their charges by eye watering figures.

Gas bills will rise by an average of 18% and electricity bills by an average of 16%.

The change will affect nine million households with the average dual fuel customer paying an extra £190 a year.

British Gas customers will have seen their bills shoot up by £258 or 25% within a year”
End Quote
Uswitch
In May, the company said its customers were not paying enough to reflect the increased cost of gas on the wholesale markets, and that this would depress its profits for the first half of the year.

But this argument was rejected by Mike O'Connor, the chief executive of Consumer Focus.

"Wholesale costs have gone up but they are still around a third lower than their 2008 peak," he said.

"Yet in this time British Gas' prices alone have risen by around 44% on gas and 21% on electricity and suppliers have made healthy profits."

Last year, British Gas' residential business made £740m.

Spending squeeze

In June, Scottish Power became the first of the big-six energy suppliers to announce another set of price increases.

It said it would raise the cost of gas by 19% and the cost of electricity by 10% at the start of August.

Energy price rises
Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar... ...Aug
*G= Gas E=Electricity

Scottish Power
G: 2% E: 8.9%
G: 19% E: 10%

Scottish & Southern
G: 9.4%

British Gas
G&E: 7%
G: 18% E: 16%

Npower
G&E: 5.1%

E.On
G: 3% E: 9%

EDF
G: 6.5% E: 7.5%

The latest increase in energy bills, which is likely to be followed by other big energy suppliers, comes after a round of increases last winter which saw British Gas put its charges up by 7% in December.

"Average household bill for a dual fuel British Gas customer will now go up from £1,096 to £1,288," said the price comparison service Uswitch.

"In total, British Gas customers will have seen their bills shoot up by £258 or 25% within a year, taking them from £1,030 a year to £1,288," Uswitch added.

Richard Lloyd, of the consumers' association Which?, said the energy firm's announcement was an unwelcome


He can say that again, it is very much unwelcome for many working class families across the land who are finding making ends meet a increasing struggle as this economic crisis of capitalism deepens. I am sure we will see many trying to go without heating this winter with the rise in costs trying to save money wherever they can to get by. After this con-dem government cut teh winter fuel allowance for elderly people i am fearful of this winter where if it reach's really cold temperatures over a consistent period we may risk loosing some of our elderly friends and family if we are not careful. Elderly people who by definition do noth ave bags of money would have been relying on teh winter fuel allowance to get them through the winter. Now it is gone i fer for many who are on the cusp of povety and those in what they call "fuel povety" those who cannot afford to have energy in their homes for long if at all.

This is something we must bear in mind over the winter and lend solidarity to the elderly and the poor if they are in need not to abandon them but offer them shelter in the warmth and not let them suffer. If the government of millionaires dont care the organised working class has got to. The trade unions and labour movement must step in to offer support and help wherever we can. We are all facing hard times but lets not let this actually claim lives we must fight for us all and this winter will be no different.

It is ok for the likes of Ed Miliband to announce to his middle class friends in the labour party that he'll take on the vested interests of the big energy companies its good he recognises thre is a issue here that huge profits are made and te service is poor and unfair to those at the bottom. But what Mr Miliband should be saying he'll do is nationalise all of the utilities and energy companies and bring them under democratic workers control. To be run for peoples need and boy we need energy today and not for the need to make a profit. Need first everytime for me and that way we will have a better all round social society .

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