Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the category “Energy Prices”

Steeling ourselves for industrial collapse

Administrators from PwC have been appointed to run some parts of the Caparo group empire. …

Steel giant Tata is expected to announce major job losses on Tuesday. Recently the UK’s second largest steelmaker, SSI, went into liquidation. …

Matt Hammond, lead administrator [of Caparo] and partner at PwC, said: “This is a significant business with a wide range of interests across steel, engineering, vehicles products and technologies. Its scale and reach into significant customers and its importance to suppliers cannot be understated. We will be rapidly assessing all options for the businesses through this week and beyond.”
BBC News website, 19 October 2015 : Caparo steel goes into partial administration

There are numerous reasons for the problems, but there seems to be only one reason for the collapse of this industry; Read more…

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Energy Pricing

The Consumers Association (Which) has noted:

Energy companies are failing to properly explain the regulator’s new price-comparison tool to consumers. When we called 13 suppliers six times each – a total of 78 times – we were provided with accurate information in only four (5%) of our calls.

When we called the energy companies in July 2014, we asked them to explain the Tariff Comparison Rate (TCR) – introduced in April by regulator Ofgem, this is a single rate that tells you how much a tariff costs per kilowatt hour, based on medium usage.

It’s important that energy firms can explain TCR accurately, because simply choosing the lowest TCR doesn’t necessarily mean you will pick the cheapest deal for you – as your energy use may differ from a medium user.

We are calling for energy suppliers to adopt simple pricing, presented in the style of a petrol forecourt display, so people can more easily compare tariffs and find the best deal for them.
Which Website 19 November 2014 : Energy suppliers fail to explain ‘simple’ tariff rate

The Tariff Comparison Rate (TCR) is a fudge – any attempt to explain something complex by grossly simplifying usually is.

The question is do we need such a complex pricing structure?

Read more…

Power to the People (or Not)

I am currently watching Ed Davey (Energy Secretary) on the BBC News Channel pontificating about insisting that those people in the South of England who have had their electricity off since before Christmas are reconnected.

As the interviewer said “it’s just verbiage” – the Government can’t do anything because it does not control the levers of power. Read more…

A Rebalanced Economy?

This Government came to power talking about “rebalancing the economy”. I thought this meant a move from volatile financial services back (yes back – it’s not always bad) to more tangible wealth creating sectors such as manufacturing (particular of goods for export – which bring money into the country). The government is beginning to claim a measure of success, so how are they doing? Read more…

Bishop bashing the energy companies

An archbishop with a background in business is urging the energy companies to “act with generosity, rather than just maximising profit.” (BBC News Website 20 October 2013)

But surely, the conservatives will chorus, businesses are obliged to maximise shareholder value and it’s our pensions that depend on them doing that? Read more…

Currying Favour with the Electorate

Downing Street then issued a statement: “To be clear, it is entirely false to suggest the Prime Minister would advise people they should wear jumpers to stay warm. Any suggestion to the contrary is mischief-making.”
BBC News Website 18 October 2013 Jumpergate – the story that wasn’t

Now the Tories have got into trouble with this sort of thing before with Edwina Curry advising people to use a cap (or take similar precautions). Read more…

Trying to find Energy Prices: ScottishPower

The Energy minister tells us to shop around for the best deal.

Now gas is gas is gas – it’s methane, CH4, with a bit of smell added, the choice of supplier will make no difference to what comes down the pipe – all suppliers use the same pipe. So price is the determining factor.

Let’s find ScottishPower’s price per kiloWatt Hour (bit like “the pump price”). Read more…

Switching – off.

In response to today’s announcement by SSE of an 8.2% “average increase” to energy prices:

Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said he was “disappointed” by SSE’s decision to increase energy prices.

He told BBC Radio 5 live: “I would encourage all customers to look again at their tariffs and see whether they can switch to a cheaper tariff.”

He added the long-term answer to high energy bills was “more competition and encouraging consumers to shop around”.
BBC News Website 10 October 2013 SSE to raise gas and electricity prices by 8.2%

He seems to think that this is a “simple” operation, but what he does not realise is that competition is not working and “shopping around” is next to impossible. Read more…

Energy Companies: too big to control?

The energy companies are vigorously complaining that Ed Miliband’s proposal to freeze energy prices would mean lack of investment and a chance that the economy would grind to a halt as we started to have black out – like in the ‘bad old days’? Read more…

What makes you a Socialist!!??

… on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, the Labour leader made clear that he is ready to fix prices in other markets: “If competition fails, and if there is evidence it has failed in particular markets, should the regulator act? And if the regulator fails, as has happened in this market, should government act? Absolutely.”

His opponents will say – and are saying already – that this is a shift to the left, an old fashioned Labour reliance on the state to solve all ills.
James Landale BBC blog 25 September 2013 Energy price freeze: A political winner?

Well, let’s try the alternative. Read more…

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