News that one of the 'Big Six' is due to announce a raise in profits at a time when many people are trying to avoid or to live with fuel poverty is never going to go down well with hard presser domestic energy customers. On Thursday Centrica (who own British Gas)are expected to reveal a group operating profit of £2.5 billion pounds, up four percent on 2010.
This unfortunately timed announcement comes against a backdrop of growing fuel poverty, which affects around 5.5 million households in the UK. Fuel poverty is defined as being when a household spends more than ten percent of their disposable income on gas and electricity. Fuel poverty is one of those things that the previous (and former) New Labour Government and the current Con Dem Government have done nothing about.
Nothing has been done or will be done to curb or regulate excessive profits from the energy companies via windfall tax. The talk about customers benefiting from dual fuel bills, etc, is mere distraction. What we have here is a dual political failure that speaks volumes as to how far both the former New Labour Government and the Conservatives (and their Lib Dem coat holders) have gone to drop even the pretence of standing up for the interests of ordinary people in favour of courting the City.
For growing numbers of ordinary people this winter it has come down to a choice of heat or eat, literally choosing between putting food on the table and heating their home. The only winners here are HM Government (with extra tax)and the big six energy companies (with fat profits) all of us as customers are losing hand over fist as the energy cartel ramps up its profits - I have not doubt over coming months that the rest of them perhaps slightly shamefaced (or perhaps not) will ever so quietly announce their profits as well.