The Independent newspaper is supporting a campaign to force energy firms to share their profits with those in energy poverty.
Over 5.5 million people are in fuel poverty with many, it is argued, having to choose between heating and eating. However, the Big Six energy suppliers increased their profit margins by 733% in only three months last year.
It’s for this reason that The Independent has decided to support a campaign to force energy companies to share their profits with those in need.
Utility Exchange reported last year when the Big Six energy companies increased their electricity and gas prices in the autumn. We also reported that E.ON’s boss, Paul Golby, said he welcomed a competition inquiry.
As many as 3,000 deaths each winter are the result of fuel poverty with research by Age UK finding that two million elderly people are so cold in their homes that they go to bed when they are not tired in order to keep the energy bills down. Research also showed that over two-fifths of people turned their heating down even when they were cold.
Back in 2006 average household energy bills were around £600. Since then they have increased by 50% to around £1,200 a year. As a result more and more people are falling into fuel poverty. Fuel poverty is taken as when energy costs account for at least a tenth of a household’s income.
It looks like energy bills are set to increase even further. Only last week wholesale energy prices were at a six year high and last October Ofgem reported that energy companies had increased profit margins from £15 per household to £125 – an increase of 733%.
The campaign being backed by The Independent is called End The Big Six Energy Fix. It’s got support from both MPs of different parties, charities, religious leaders, celebrities and campaigners. They are urging the Government to do something about the way energy companies behave and want a new tax on their profits.
The campaigners want a windfall tax on the profits of energy companies. The money raised would be used to make homes more energy efficient and help to reduce fuel poverty.
Leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas, said “It is completely outrageous that the Big Six are able to rake in eye-watering profits as people up and down the country are forced to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families. These companies are delivering a crucial public service, and it is now the Government’s responsibility to hold them to account for failing to provide anything close to a fair deal for consumers. We need to see Ofgem taking a far stronger role in regulating this out-of-control industry”.