So, yet again, our “poor” (interpret this however you wish!) energy providers are “having” to increase their prices to its customers.Npower will increase the price of gas by an average of 8.8% and electricity by 9.1% from 26 November. Earlier, British Gas, the UK's biggest energy supplier, raised its charges for both types of fuel by an average of 6%, adding £80 a year to the average dual fuel bill. SSE (which trades as Scottish Hydro, Swalec and Southern Electric) has already said it will raise its prices by an average of 9% from Monday.
The firms blame the government's energy policies as well as wholesale prices – but the fact remains that they’re all making comfortable profits, thank you very much!
In July, Centrica (the owner of British Gas) reported a 15% rise in first-half adjusted operating profits to £1.45BILLION. In May, SSE reported first-half adjusted profit for the year ended March 2012 at £1.34BILLION. In March, Npower announced a 34% leap in annual profits. We have yet to hear anything from E.On, EDF and Scottish Power, but I have a sneaking feeling we might hear “more of the same” (of course).
Richard Lloyd of consumer group Which? criticised the lack of competition in the energy market: "What we need to see is action from the government and more pressure on... these very big lazy companies who think it's OK to clobber people with above-inflation price rises at the very time when they can least afford it”.
Although I’ve not written posts EVERY time energy price have been raised, I’m conscious that I’m in danger of becoming an “energy bore” (eg. click here and here for stuff I posted in February and March last year – nothing has changed!).
But, it seems to me that the BIG SIX energy providers have what amounts to a monopolistic control over the prices they charge their customers while, AT THE SAME TIME, ensure that they themselves make ENORMOUS profits. Of course(!), they have to pay their executives massive salaries/pay the market rate (and bonuses) to stop them taking jobs with rival companies (what utter “tosh”) and, once again, it’s also all about their shareholders’ profits (surely, that can’t be right either?).
We, the poor consumers, have absolutely no choice in the matter.
There seems little point in constantly changing suppliers because they ALL increase their prices on a regular basis and, frankly, we’ve all become totally disillusioned by the process anyway.
We just don’t trust the energy providers and Ofgem seems to be completely ineffective… and we can do absolutely nothing about it.
It’s frankly scandalous and government intervention seems the only option. But, of course, it’s global market and the consumer is a mere “bit player”.
Surely, it shouldn’t be like this?