March 24, 2008
UNISON and the National Right to Fuel Campaign have come together to demand an official inquiry into almost £2.5bn extra profits energy companies are awarding themselves as households up and down the country deal with huge price rises announced this winter.
The call for an Ofgem probe comes the week after British Gas became the latest energy provider to increase its prices: announcing an immediate 15% rise.
It followed EDF’s decision to increase gas prices by 12.% and electricity by 7.9 %, while npower had previously announced rises of 17.2% for gas and 12.7% for electricity.
Research, sponsored jointly by UNISON and the National Right to Fuel Campaign and published today, says the average household is paying £100 extra a year because prices charged to customers have increased by £2.3bn more than the costs of producing and selling electricity and gas.
Backing the call for an Ofgem inquiry, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis noted: “Hard-working families are desperately worried about increasing fuel bills, rising housing costs, food costs and millions of public sector workers are being told they must accept pay cuts.
“Pensioners are finding it a huge struggle, despite the winter fuel payments that have been wiped out by these greedy companies.
“The government should order Ofgem to do its job properly.”
Gas and electricity costs to householders, produced by Cornwall Energy Associates, shows that British households’ annual spending on electricity and gas increased by £8.2bn between 2003 and 2006, while the energy companies costs’ grew buy £5.9bn – meaning an extra £2.3bn profits for them.
Over the same period the average household’s debt to energy suppliers grew from £159 to £194 for electricity customers and from £141 to £180. Charities have found that their funding of individual debts has grown to £16m a year.
From UNISONAuthor : EMI