UK Government Faces Storm over Energy Bills
By Anne Lewis-Schneider
British government is not getting any respite from the increasing uproar over the increases in energy bills announced by SSE and British Gas. The ever spiralling costs to the consumer are not being adequately explained to the public, except in the broadest terms of being costs of service, delivery and government subsidies. New figures recently released reveal that over the last ten years electricity and gas has escalated in price by 152%, and that figure is before the newest round of increases has been factored in.
Ministers were hoping to deliver some good news to the public with regard to the new nuclear power stations to be built at Hinckley Point. Instead, it has been thrown into the middle of a storm over the rise of gas and electricity prices which are said to be escalating at four times the rate of inflation. Nick Clegg who is the deputy Prime Minister has inferred that although government is not in a position to challenge the increases that have been announced by British Gas and SSE, he feels that the energy suppliers should be doing a better job of explaining the reasons for the high increases to the public, and that the energy companies should be made to justify these increases to their customers.
Nick Clegg continued that with so many people struggling to meet monthly bills without the added pressure of price increases, he felt that there should be more transparent as to the reasons for these steep increases. Energy companies are all saying the same thing with regard to the increases; that government subsidies and delivery costs have forced the increases which are unavoidable. There has even been a plea from the Church as the Archbishop of Canterbury has appealed to the Big Six Energy Companies to behave in a generous manner rather than profiting from those who can ill afford it. He has asked that they be more aware of their obligations to the severely hit people in lower income groups who are already struggling under severe fuel poverty.
The energy companies are sitting in a position where they are in control because they sell a product that every household needs to function. The Archbishop has asked that the large energy companies realise that with power comes a societal responsibility to be fair. Customers want government to tackle excess profiteering and undeserved bonuses declared by the Big Six.
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