Friday, August 08, 2008


'Pickpocket' foreign fuel giants accused of ripping off Britons to keep energy bills down at home



Victim: Some of the most vulnerable customers have seen their energy bills rise by 75 per cent

Foreign energy firms have been accused of 'picking the pockets' of British customers while capping price rises in their home countries.

French-owned EDF has announced a 22 per cent rise in gas bills and 17 per cent on electricity for its 5.5million UK users.

At the same time, it has secretly raised gas prices for some of its most vulnerable customers by as much as 75 per cent.

The increases are in stark contrast to the situation in France.

EDF has been told by the government there to cap its increases on electricity to just 2 per cent and gas to 5 per cent.

There are fears the company, which is part-owned by the French government, is looking to protect its profits by imposing punishing increases on UK families.

The price cap in France will not stop EDF imposing big rises in the cost of electricity it sells to Britain via a cable under the Channel.

The increases were strongly criticised yesterday by Ed Mayo, chief of the National Consumer Council.

'Closed and protectionist European energy markets end up picking the pockets of consumers in this country,' he said.

He suggested Britain should consider introducing French-style price caps. 'If the French are capping prices, that is something we should be looking at. We should learn from the French,' he said.

'My concerns are for people on fixed income, such as pensioners, who will be switching off their electricity and heating this winter. That will lead to more illness and disease.'

Mr Mayo said foreign owned power companies - such as EDF, RWE Npower and E.on of Germany, and Iberdrola of Spain, which owns Scottish Power - must show they are not raising prices in the UK to subsidise customers in other countries. He was speaking at a press conference to announce the name of a new 'super-watchdog', Consumer Focus, which will replace the National Consumer Council, Energywatch and Postwatch.

EDF, like the other 'big six' power suppliers, has a series of tariffs linked to the amount of gas that customers use.

It has increased the charge for 132,000 low users by up to 75 per cent - taking the charges up from 3.984p per kilowatt hour to 7p. A low-user customer who perhaps only has gas for a cooker will see the annual bill rise from £106.77 a year to £187.60.

EDF customer Philip Williams, 69, who lives alone in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, said: 'I couldn't believe it when I got the bill and found the price had gone up by 75 per cent, not 22 per cent as we were told. I've had no notice that it would go up this much.

'During the winter months my bills will go through the roof.'

Consumer group Energywatch said: 'The message this sends out is that people who try to be careful and cut down on their use of gas end up getting penalised with bigger increases in bills than everyone else.

'All the evidence is that energy companies are disregarding the needs of their most vulnerable customers.'

LibDem energy spokesman Steve Webb suggested firms such as EDF may try to boost profits in Britain to counter price caps in their home countries.

'EDF will have to make up the shortfall somehow,' he said. 'They may have to look to customers in Britain.'

The 'big six' power suppliers also charge more than 3.5million customers who have prepayment meters around £150 a year more for their heat and light compared with those who pay via direct debit.

These firms offer social tariffs which are supposed to cut the bills of the estimated 4.5million households which are in fuel poverty.

However, the deals are wrapped in small print with the result that only a tiny fraction of eligible households are signed up.

A spokesman for EDF denied UK customers will subsidise those in France. He said both are standalone profitable businesses.

He added: 'EDF Energy has always taken its responsibility to vulnerable customers very seriously and has gone far beyond regulatory obligations to support customers struggling to pay energy bills and to keep warm.'
NWN: This is what happens when we sell off our assets of coal,water, gas and electricity to foreigners.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

12 months ago my gas bill was £11 for the year. I only used by cooker. Now my bill is £80 a year.

What happened to north sea oil and gas? It's time the British started agitating for price reductions by going out on strike and demonstrating.

behind blue eyes said...

I urge every Nationalist to read the following book by English writer Andrew Carrington Hitchcock entitled The Synagogue of Satan - The History of Jewish World Domination

Here is an extract from this fantastic book:-
'N.M Rothschild & Sons advises the British government on the privatisation of British Gas. They subsequently advise the British government on virtually all of their privatisations of state controlled assets including British Steel, British Coal; all the British regional electricity boards; and all the British regional water boards. They will go on to make several billion pounds from this "advice". A British MP involved in privatisations is future Chancellor of the Excheque, Norman Lamont, a former Rothschild banker.'

More recently they have advised the government, yet again, over Northern Rock. Billions of taxpayers money going into their coffers once more.

Over £55 billion of taxpayers money has been paid so far to bail this private monetary concern out. Talk about capitalise the profits and socialise the losses. For this amount of money surely we could buy back these privatised public utilities, thus ensuring that citizens of this country are not held to ransom by foreign owned parasitical companies. Essential utilities should never be in private hands. The government has also promised India £800 million in foreign aid over the next four years. The car manufacturer Jaguar could've been brought back under British control for the exact same money; ironically it was bought by an Indian businessman!

Anonymous said...

With tax payers money.

We are talking about corporate greed by greedy share holders who are British people ripping off poor British people ,so what do we do they have us all by the balls and are squeezing us now , what will it be like in a bad winter,it's Capitalism with a very very big C.
And what are the socialists wankers party and the trade unions doing about protesting on behalf of it's members/workers who will be agitating for pay rises to pay the greedy share holders ? nothing is the answer.
WHAT ARE NATIONALIST PARTY'S DOING ABOUT PUTTING UP AN ALTERNATIVE POLICY TO PRIVATIZATION ?the answer is NOTHING YET.

KEITH AXON

Anonymous said...

Mr Axon said:

"WHAT ARE NATIONALIST PARTY'S DOING ABOUT PUTTING UP AN ALTERNATIVE POLICY TO PRIVATIZATION ?the answer is NOTHING YET."

As such policies have not emerged it would appear that we do not yet have credible "nationalist parties" - otherwise the position on these issues would be clear.

Perhaps these monopolies will bring about formation of such parties, through their greed and exploitation of the vulnerable.

Simon Smith said...

All of these companies will have details on line. I suspect that at the highest level, a cartel situation exists.

A researcher might like to look into the possibility that the various directors in these nominally different "competitive" utility companies have connections.

In any case I believe alternative energy sources exist but are being suppressed and I invite people to have a look at Tom Bearden's website as one of many, challenging the mainstream viewpoint on this matter.

As far as I can see, "Peak Oil" is a scam as indeed is the notion that oil is created from organic material(eg dead dinosaurs). The presence of methane and related compounds on some of the satellites of Jupiter/Saturn testifies to this idea. Russian scientists have shown oil is coming from a far deeper level in the earth than decaying plants/animals allows for...Google this stuff folks !

There are three monopolies by which we are controlled: Money/Energy/Information

NorthWestNationalists said...

The Government is talking about giving Maggie Thatcher a State funeral !

Well she has left us in a state, by selling off our 'Canalettos'.

behind blue eyes said...

The Government is talking about giving Maggie Thatcher a State funeral !

I'll be in a state, a very inebriated one, when that evil witch croaks.

She was amply rewarded for doing the Rothschilds bidding whilst in office.

NorthWestNationalists said...

There was an interesting article by marxist/communist Arthur Scargill in the GUARDIAN;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/08/nuclearpower.fossilfuels

Scargill was also right about the miners strike.

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