Richard Oliff: Now utilities are the most unpopular

Can anything prevent the gas and electricity companies from raising their prices so high, asks Richard
Can anything prevent the gas and electricity companies from raising their prices so high, asks Richard
0
Have your say

Banks have a new challenger in the unpopularity stakes.

The utility companies are apparently fast replacing them as the number one in the chart of most disdained organisations.

Thames Water was stopped in its tracks by the water regulator Ofwat, preventing it from raising prices by eight per cent.

But Ofgem, which claims on its website that it makes “a positive difference for energy consumers”, remains as useless as a chocolate teapot as the energy companies remain free to raise their charges by outrageous amounts.

The UK inflation rate for both August and September 2013 remained at about 2.7 per cent, yet Npower has seen fit to increase its prices by about 10.4 per cent, British Gas by 9.2 per cent, Scottish Power by 8.6 per cent, SSE by 8.2 per cent, and even the Utility Warehouse is planning an increase of 6.9 per cent by January 2014.

Everyone, even the Government, is powerless to prevent the profit-driven march of these businesses as the UK braces itself for an onslaught of indefensible charges.

The best advice so far is to switch provider, yet even if you do, you would still be paying as much as four times over the rate of inflation.

Which would be fine if wages, salaries and pensions were to increase in equal amounts: but this is living in a dreamland.

I’ve been told by my supplier to wash my laundry at 40c instead of 60c, and to fill the kettle with only enough water as required.

It was like reading the instructions on the back of a state of emergency leaflet.

Well, here we are coming to the end of 2013, and I’ve yet to see any personal benefit from so-called “renewable” energy.

Indeed, it was recently reported that a wind turbine which cost the Welsh Government £48,000 to buy has been generating an average of £5 of electricity per month. Oops.