Since March, power companies have seen the amount they must pay for their gas fall by over 36 per cent.
At the same time, however, customers? bills have risen by more than a quarter. And another increase is to come in the New Year. The official consumer body Energywatch is calling for a full-blown Competition Commission inquiry amid suspicions that the UK?s big six power firms are on the take.
Millions of Britons have seen their gas and electricity bills surge this year.
The increases have put lives at risk during the cold months ahead, according to charities, with poorer households forced to make the choice between heating and eating.
The big six power companies ? British Gas, Powergen, SSE, Npower, Scottish Power and EDF ? have blamed higher wholesale prices for the increases in consumer bills this year.
However, these prices have been falling back sharply over the past months, largely because new imported supplies of gas have become available via new pipelines from Norway and the Netherlands, so this excuse is now running a bit thin.
Cheaper gas should also mean a lower price for electricity because it is used to fuel 40 per cent of power stations.
Research by experts at the website w http://www.theenergyshop.com w
Show the average wholesale price of gas hit a high of 2.55p per kilowatt hour in March this year.
Since then it has fallen by 36 per cent to 1.62p. By contrast, the retail price paid by consumers has risen by almost 26 per cent to 2.956p per kilowatt hour over the same period.
The energy giants claim that they buy their gas and electricity some six to nine months in advance.
Industry bodies have stated that it could be next summer or possibly even autumn before consumers see lower bills.
But since prices have been falling since March, this suggests household power bills should have Dropped by now.
An Energywatch statement confirms the energy companies are creaming off extra profits for as long as they are allowed to get away with it.
Its chief executive, Allan Asher, said: “If prices fail to come down it will only add to the suspicion that consumers are being blatantly ripped off.
“We believe there should be a Competition Commission inquiry into whether there is a cartel at work. Consumers have had enough of the relentless profiteering from energy companies. They deserve to know that everything is being done to sort the problem out.
“Sitting on our hands waiting for prices to fall is not an acceptable response.”
A new industry, made up of internet-based companies which take commission by switching consumers to the cheapest deals, has emerged over the last three years.
Karen Darby, chief executive of w http://www.simplyswitch.com w , said: “Customers are unlikely to understand why, when wholesale prices are falling prices to consumers don?t fall too.
“Delays in passing on a reduction in wholesale prices to consumers would be seen as grossly unfair.”
Joe Malinowksi, of theenergyshop.com, said: “The industry does have a case that they are selling gas now that was bought when the wholesale price was higher earlier in the year.
“However, prices have been dropping like a stone in recent months and consumers should now be seeing the benefit of that.”
The energy regulator Ofgem approved extra spending of more than ?5billion in the next five years on gas pipelines and the electricity grid.
This is predicted to add around ?10 to gas bills next year and ?2-?4 to those for electricity.
The increases reflect the need to build pipelines to carry imported gas to where it is needed and build links to new windfarms.
Citizens Advice spokesman Tony Herbert said: “This is yet another cost that will hit people on low incomes the hardest. We are now seeing evidence of people struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills, but we expect that this will grow massively over the winter months.
The Energy Retailers spokesman said: “Wholesale prices have come down recently, prompted by the very mild start to the winter and increased supply from Europe.
“However, over the last three years the price paid for gas rose by 100 per cent while the price paid by consumers has risen 170 per cent. fontc/fontc
People of Britain are we slowly being squeezedcolorc
Recently I?ve been trying to save money on my Bills , so far I?ve chosen the cheapest gas and electric for the area I live in http://www.ebico.co.ukebico ltdwww.ebico.co.uk , I?ve changed my Telecom option to low user with BT , saves Over 20 quid a quarter on my line rental , shopped around for a cheaper mortgage , got rid of the credit card over 3 months ago (uk highest rates in the world ) , stopped smoking, got fed up paying the fag companies and the Government to slowly kill me , sold off the car and motorbike , finally realised owning anything that uses fossil fuels is asking to be legally mugged (Uk only oil producing nation in the world that doesn?t take advantage of being a oil producer ), got rid of my personal Mobile phone (more expensive than smoking) .
So I think you?ve got the idea I?m making a concerted effort to cut costs, very prudent you may asked? But I?ve reached a quagmire, where can I get cheaper local council services and a company that can cut the cost of my TV licence? sorry entertainment tax. http://www.tvlicensing.biz/phpbb2/http://www.tvlicensing.biz/phpbb2/>
Sorry!! What I?m I saying, I thought for a minute I was living in a society that was free and allows people freedom of choice, freedom to choose.
A capitalist society with a free market, a country we call a democracy.
Which got me thinking? Why do I have to make this concerted effort to cut costs?? Ohm!! that?s right everything I buy, use and/or consume is going up in price by more than the rate of inflation except my pay .I?m already working 14 hours a day ,6 days a week sometimes 7 and this was the only way I could make ends meet .
I?m slowly but surely being squeezed, I can?t be the only one? , I see myself as fairly well off around the UK average income so there?s got to be people out there who are in the same or similar situation, maybe even worse?
So I ask this simple Question if I?m not the only one being squeezed and there is a fair number out there, what?s going to happen if this is allowed to go on and on.
I?m not sure if voting would make a difference it doesn?t matter which of the 2 main parities gets in , it?s just more of the same(arrogance) , or do I have to just take it (The British mentality) because right now I?ve got the feeling I?m being taken for granted by the powers that be ? Mega Style? .
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