Monday 17 October 2011


Mr Cameron, ahead of crucial talks between Buffoon Huhne , Offgas (as in let off) Offgem and the big 6 energy suppliers, has said something must be done about energy prices.

Maybe he has heard that people are worried that they will freeze to death this winter, particularly, if as forecast, it's another very long, very cold one.

NPower and British Gas have generously pledged not to hike prices again this year. Since, however, we are half way through October and there are only about 11 weeks left in the year, this is not a huge comfort to people who have seen their bills rise by up to 19% (Scottish Power) in the last few days. SSE has promised that prices will not rise again until August 2012, which is at least a relief.

Phil Bently , managing director of British Gas... (more appropriately named Laughing Gas), said that because Britain had to import 50% of its gas on an international market, prices would continue to go up, as there was more and more competition for the gas supplied by Russia and the Middle East. Our friends in the Middle East, whom we seem to 'help' at the drop of a hat, are selling vast amounts to Japan....That's gas that used to come to Britain. Maybe the Yen is preferable to the Pound.

Of course there are vast amounts of gas in the North Sea, but not nearly enough is produced for the whole of the UK (although far more than enough for Scotland).

What can the government do?  Well, it's hampered a little by the fact that some oil and gas people contribute handsomely to the Tory coffers, and no one bites the hand that feeds it. (Having said that Danny, the bright boy of the London Treasury, put a massive tax on oil exploration in Scotland, presumably in order that they would be discouraged from making more vast finds, thus giving even stronger wings to aspirations of an independent Scotland .)

They might like to start by appointing an Energy Minister who lived on the same planet as we do. 

Huhne recently lectured us that all we had to do was change supplier and hey presto all our problems would be solved. That is until someone from Earth pointed out to him that it wasn't that easy to do; that companies put all sorts of difficulties in your path; that finding a tariff to suit you was a job for MENSA members, and that once you had managed to surmount all that you would still probably receive demands from the last company and threats to cut off your supply, despite all protestations that you no longer dealt with them, until (as my mother did) you get a solicitor's letter to demand that they cease and desist!

Mr Cameron has said that the best way to reduce bills is to simplify the means of changing supplier and to encourage people to waste less power. So, it's your fault, consumer, for heating rooms in a wing of your stately pile that you only use when you are hosting a shooting party or having people down for the weekend!

People who don't have both electricity and gas lose out by having to pay bigger bills because they don't get a duel fuel discount, surely something could be done to stop that situation. Many deals are only available on line, putting at a disadvantage people who don't have internet access. Maybe Mr Huhne doesn't know that such people exist. That should be outlawed while there are still vast numbers of poorer and older people who have no internet access.

People who prepay their electricity pay over the odds for it (again the poorest) and those who cannot set up a direct debit (simplest bank accounts for the poor) also pay more. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

What they really need to do is strengthen the powers of the useless Offgen, to take on the almost cartel situation of the big 6 energy suppliers, some of which are owned by companies based outside the UK. 

They need to ensure that the sick and the elderly are protected against these rises which in that one case was 4 times the rate of inflation (and thus of benefit increases). 

They need to restore the winter fuel payment to old people.


And why can't the British Government simply do what the French government (or the French President who is looking for another 5 years in the Elysée) has done. Just tell them 'NO' or in their case 'NON'.

No more rises for a year, no questions, no arguments. 'End of' (or 'fin de'), as some people irritatingly say.

Every winter in the UK thousands of people die of cold related illness. Unless this winter is very mild, sub tropical, that figure will  increase. There is no excuse. Comparable figures in far colder countries put the UK to shame.

Get it sorted, Huhne. Do something about it now before you have deaths on your hands.


A year of energy price rises

Month 2010-11CompanyPrice rise
Scottish Power
Gas: 2% Elec: 8.9%
Scottish & Southern
Gas: 9.4%
British Gas
Gas: 7% Elec:7%
Gas & Elec: 5.1%
Gas: 3% Elec: 9%
Gas: 6.5% Elec: 7.5%
Scottish Power
Gas: 19% Elec: 10%
British Gas
Gas: 18% Elec: 16%
Scottish & Southern
Gas: 18% Elec: 11%
Gas: 18% Elec: 11%
Gas: 15.7% Elec: 7.2%
Gas: 15.4% Elec: 4.5%

(Table from the BBC page linked in first paragraph above)


  1. I want it sorted whilst Huhne is spending a few days of a 5 year sentence for criminal deception over his speeding offences.

  2. 7 Homes Huhne should be in prison for deception over that speeding scam. The only thing going for him is that he proved that 'rugmunchery' is all in the mind.
    I've tried switching suppliers but it turned out to be a waste of time. Like with switching ISP's you end up with two sets of outgoings and trying to get your direct debits back is impossible. The phone call bills eventually turn out dearer than the stolen debit money.
    I see from your supplier list that they're all foreign owned apart from British Gas and SSE. The French Govt partly own EDF which is why they can dictate prices to the suppliers.
    Things can only get worse in Scotland with our mass windmill and wave machine building programme for the global warming scammers.

  3. Like that's going to happen OR.

    Government ministers are prison proof.

    Hope you had a good holiday btw.

  4. The coalition needs to realise that there needs to be new thinking in this area.

    Talk of regulation simplification, or standardisation of consumer information is all welcome, but frankly too timid. Besides, such thinking is emblematic of the last 12 years approach.

    The coalition must either:

    a) Regulate prices (drastic, but perhaps vital in the interests of ensuring the provision of this SERVICE (see that word, SERVICE, not business)

    b) Nationalisation

    Now, 'b' is very drastic, and I wouldn't go this far personally, price regulation is preferable. But it is time to face facts, government has to step in to ensure fair supplies, and reasonable prices. Profits shooting up, while wholesale prices have begun to stabilise (if not actually fall in real terms) means there is a problem with the motivation behind the supplies.

  5. Yes Monty. E de F and G de F are partly owned by teh French government, which seems like a sensible thing for power companies to be.

    Now cynically I'm saying that Sarko is limiting increases because he wants to be re-elected. He knows that French people don't sit whining about prices going through the roof; they get out there and burn a few things.

    It's not just households that are suffering, although I know people who are already wearing 2 or 3 jumpers rather than put on the heating in October (despite the rain and sleet today). If power goes up, everything else goes up because factories and offices have higher costs.

    I think that governments should at least have a controlling interest in things as important as power and water, without which the country grinds to a halt. And it should be the government of the country concerned. I'm an internationalist (and France is my second home) but I find it strange that the profits from our hardship in Scotland are going to support the French taxpayer!

  6. Dean: Part nationalisation is probably the answer. In that way prices could be controlled as they are being in France. I was told this afternoon that the French government owns 40% of EdF. I thought it was more.

    Nationalisation, however, would be expensive, I guess, and maybe in the short term we simply need legislation to protect consumers.

    You are right that there seems to be no downward trend when the wholesale prices are low. Indeed at one stage they were almost giving gas away, and we were still paying through the nose.

    And the big 6 cartel situation needs looking at most urgently.

    I know I seem to harp on about it, but in a country where people die for want to heat in the winter, it was the stupidest, or the most heartless policy to take a way money from pensioners (especially when a promise was made by Cameron not to do it).

    I know that there are pensioners who don't need the money. I'm sure Mrs Cameron Snr, or Mrs Clegg Snr, has no need of it, but surely some way could have been found to pay it to people who were on pension credit, for example.

  7. Effectively the French Gov controls EDF/GDF and the banks, but indirectly so.

    They chose who runs the companies and make sure it is one of the "Enarcs" who also run the French Treasury and try to run the EU.

    They all sing off the same hymn sheet; for the benefit of France.

  8. I love how the europhobes somehow manage to blame everything on the EU, even when the EU has done more for social rights in the UK than any British government has since 1979!

  9. As they should be Wolfie. Ils sont francais!

    Our government is trying to work for Scotland.

  10. I don't think that was what was meant Dean.

  11. Deano

    Its a sickness of the mind these loons who hate Johny foreigners would be just as happy to burn Northern English The welsh and all the scots in one Great big bonfire.
    I cant work out where this 'Nation' is they keep on about reverting to and one thing is for sure there aint many people in it.
    And they are all white male middle class and(southern) English..........

    anyone else is not allowed dont want to mongrelise the Ruling English elite (No Northerners either) do we

  12. Oi Dean was that a wee snipe at me and, if so, where and what did I display Europhobia?

    To be a Europhobe and order my steak et frites would be a bitself defeating and the other half, peut-etre aururias des bons mots ciblé a mon oreille.

    I was just telling it, comme il est.

    Bientot, sans circumflexe.

  13. No no Niko. There's plenty here in Scotland; plenty Labour supporters who loathe the EU.

    I have one neighbour, a Labour man through and through, who tries to hide his xenophobia, because he knows how much I loathe it, but sometimes fails. He was telling me about someone who is going around the area, looking in back gardens for scrap that they can steal and take to the metal merchants as it's fetching a good price at the moment. he had caught them at it in his garden and sent them packing. poles they were, of that he was certain... or at least they were eastern Europeans, not that he was racist or anything.

    Well, a few weeks later the guy came back... this time I was there, along with the neighbour. That's him, he said, the Easter European, he added. So shouted over... Can I help you? Aye mate, he said in a broad Weegie accent, ah wis wanderin' if ye hid oany scrap metal ye were wan'in taen awaw...

    Amazing how the accent in Gdansk has changed over the years.

  14. Loup couchant: Ben oui, mais c’est difficile sur les claviers anglais sans circonflexe… non?

  15. Tout a fait, Tris, tout a fait

  16. Over on the LibDem blog, the LibDEm voice I posted a comment about LibDem peers blocking a bill to introduce Local referenda, presumably in England and Wales.

    It is re-posted below.

    It is still under moderation and I suspect will be kicked into the LibDem long grass. No mention of Donald Trump please.

    As I said in phantom post, neither Liberal nor Democrat.

    Their meltdown continues.

    Lupus Incomitatus
    Posted 18th October 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Ah, the Liberal Democrats.

    The Liberal Democrats (Vermin in Ermin, sub division) block the possibility of local referenda.

    They have form you know on restricting democracy; they effectively blocked the referendum on Scottish independence at Holyrood. despite the fact this was part of their constitution.

    Neither Liberal nor Democrat.

    The LibDems, the meltdown is near to core breech.

  17. And, it's not just the Lords Wolfie, although your comment is bang right there.

    As you know Liberals have always been for a federal UK, and many of the proposals that the government has been putting to Michael Moore, as a half way house, 'in the meantime' sort of measure, to help kick start the Scottish economy, and to save it being dragged in the direction that the UK one is going, have been federalist in nature.

    And Michael Moore had picked up his handbag and his blonde bouffant and said No, No, No!

    I'd swear Mental Micky is hoping that Dave will notice him, and post him OUT of the Scotland Office, to something a bit more important, before the referendum, so he is being more Tory than the Tories.

    It shows what Dave thinks of the job. Moore was originally not even given the most junior of posts in the government, PPS, so highly thought of was he. Then he was plucked from nowhere to be our man in their Cabinet.

    Respect agenda ...

  18. I see that “call me” has had a cosy chat with the Big Six. And they are going to “write” to everyone and tell us all how we can save money by changing how we pay. That’s not too difficult is it? Just don’t switch on their exorbitantly expensive power when it’s twenty below outside. I assume they want all those poor people who pay in advance with a top up meter or card to get direct debits that suit the power companies. And they are going to make it easier to “switch” to a better deal by printing on bills an encouragement to check that a rival company did not do a better deal. But what is the point? Switching power companies is much like waiting for a bus wait a while and another one comes along at the same price! And the process of switching is labyrinthine in the extreme. Invariably they act like a pack so when one goes and puts its prices up you know the other five will follow in short order. So unless you want to live in the land of never ending switching there really is no point. Of course Dave wont know this and a bit of finger wagging at the chief execs of the power companies is a good PR exercise. Isn’t it?

  19. I love the way the Telegraph reports that the companies were ‘hauled’ before the prime minister. As if! They were invited to a meeting. The days of prime ministers ‘hauling’ people before them are over.

    If the prime minister had been in the mood to “haul” them, he might have demanded that they look at the massive increase in profit margins that they have recently made, while people die of the cold.

    Instead he persuaded them into writing to everyone and telling them that they COULD change supplier and that they could save money by paying by direct debit and that they could go online and find out how much electricity other people were using.

    My goodness, how these electricity bosses must have shaken with fear, specially the foreign ones.