You will have seen – and felt – the massive price rises coming through again. After many months of promises, it looks pretty certain that the Government will propose some sort of action on this as part of a green paper some time in April.
Of course, a green paper is just consultation, and any measures they propose are unlikely to affect next winter’s bills. In the meantime, the price rises are now, and they are heaviest on electricity, so this will continue to pinch our already squeezed budgets through the summer.
We fought hard to get a better cap on Prepayment Meter prices, but at least it was a step in the right direction. The government are unlikely to go for a straightforward cap – but they might, if we can build enough pressure. It is also being advocated by the Labour Party.
Last week, we put out a press release and wrote to MPs about the need for a cap – and not a “relative” one – on the standard variable tariff. This is the tariff that two thirds of customers are on. Only a small minority follow the many exhortations to “Switch” — and finally there was a debate in Parliament about how switching is not the solution. You can see the debate here.
It was pointed out that Northern Ireland still has price regulation, and a majority of countries in the European Union still have price controls of one sort or another. It was also made clear that although the companies like to blame the rising cost of “green crap” for their own high prices, in fact social and environmental measures – like the Warm Homes Discount for pensioners and insulation for fuel poor households – only make up 9% of bills, and also serve to bring bills down..
Please let us know if you or anyone you’re in touch with would be ready to speak out about how rip-off price rises are affecting you personally. Do get in touch – the media are often keen to hear people’s personal experiences.
Email us as usual on [email protected].