Ed has spoken out about the failure of the energy companies to pass on cuts in their domestic retails bills to customers after the falls in the price of wholesale gas and the energy companies have trembled. All well and good, it is more than reasonable for the energy regulator Ofgem to be given new powers to force firms to cut gas and electricity bills - to reflect falls in wholesale energy prices.
Since June last year, oil prices have gone down by 50% and wholesale energy prices have dipped by 30%. But the prices being paid by households to heat their homes have not fallen at anything like that speed.
While EON is the first of the big 6 energy cartel members to cut their domestic energy bills, it is probably fair to say that this was not driven by an Ed inspired pre panic. Energy UK – the energy supplier’s trade body’s pronouncement that they (the energy companies) are already passing on price cuts to customers. Ofgem at present does not have the power to force a reduction in prices. It is worth noting that Wholesale energy costs have been dropping in recent months, with the price of a barrel of Brent Crude oil falling to below $49 dollars this week.
The Labour leader has said that he would demand fast-track legislation on energy in a House of Commons debate next week. When he served as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from 3rd October 2008 until 11thMay 2010, he showed no great desire to regulate the unscrupulous activities of the energy cartel on our behalf. We have been here before with mumbled words of condemnation from the former New Labour energy minister calling for the energy cartels to pass on the benefits of wholesale energy price falls to its customers.
Warm words aside, Westminster is incapable or unwilling to deal with this problem, so perhaps it’s time for a home grown solution to the problem. We need a new Welsh national energy company, an Ynni Cymru to break the stranglehold of the Big Six energy cartel members on the energy market.
We in Wales, need a ‘not for dividend profit’ company, as with Glas Cymru works within our water industry. This would firmly ensure that customers come before shareholders dividends and the City of London and that all the profits would be reinvested back into the energy sector in our country, ensuring that Welsh families, households and small and larger businesses get a good deal on their energy and our country will end up with secure sustainable energy supplies.