An Ofgem report has found that despite wholesale gas and electricity prices falling by 38% last year, profits doubled last year alone. On average, energy companies have seen profits rise from £9 per customer in 2009 to £101 in 2014. So much for so-called regulation of the energy companies by Ofgem! Together with a rise in profits, the numbers of households falling into fuel poverty has also grown.
According to Association for the Conservation of Energy 450,000 households in Northern Ireland are in fuel poverty, compared to 290,000 in 2011 – a 36% rise. The response from Citizens Advice and other bodies has been to call for further fines on the energy companies and for the cash to be given to those most hard-pressed to pay bills. But spread over the estimated 6.5million people in fuel poverty across Britain and Northern Ireland, this will have no real impact.
The energy companies should be taken back into public ownership and democratically run to provide affordable fuel and electricity to cater for peoples needs, not to enrich the few.