Fuel Poverty

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I think most people would agree that people should have the basic right to heat and light.  That electricity and gas is a common resource that we should all be able to access equally.  However, the privatisation of such commodities has in fact meant that we are not all accessing it equally and the levels of fuel poverty, within UK households is on the increase.

This has been the enclosing of a common resource.  Energy companies are operating in a free market which supposedly facilitates growth and development and improved living conditions.  Yet according to the Department for Energy and Climate Change, in 2009 21% of UK households were living in fuel poverty.

This week it was reported by Ofgem that since June energy companies have seen average profits per household rise from £15 to £125 and still fuel bills are expected to rise by up to 25% in the next year.  And this is reportedly because of the increasing wholesale price of imported gas supplies, which are being pushed up due to competition from growing economies such as Japan.  Is this the effect of globalisation?

With inflation increasing, unemployment increasing and welfare benefits decreasing then fuel poverty will continue to worsen.  British citizens will be suffering at the expense of shareholders profits.  What is worse is those more likely to be in fuel poverty to begin with are further penalised by energy firms looking to protect profit by the installation of pre-payment meters.  Customers are charged higher rates and those most likely to use these already have a low income and the percentage of their income spent on fuel will be higher.

Why should the 6 big energy companies and a handful of rich shareholders be able to profit from the basic need of all the population?  Should everyone not have an equal share of the common resource at a proportionate expense based on operational costs?

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2 Responses to “Fuel Poverty”

  1. charlieeze2011 Says:

    Energy poverty as it is widely known in UK is fast becoming Government Elimination Syndrome, GES. The debate is gearing up as report has it that over 2,700 people died last winter because they can’t afford to heat their homes. Your guess for this year is as good as mine since energy price has already gone up by 15-19% for gas and 4.5-16% for electricity. Just yesterday, 19th October 2011, Mr. David Cameroon summoned the Chief Executives of the giant six energy companies and gave a riot act asking them to work harder and faster to bring down bills. They in turn proffered to give advice for customers to shop around for cheaper prices. I think this is ‘rudediculous’. Absolute trash; how can the elderly for example shop around for cheaper energy; where are all the tax returns going to? This is a classical pseudo capitalist razzmatazz; the government should have reacted unequivocally in the same manner the London riot was dealt with. In my earlier blog ‘Insensitive increase of energy price in UK’ I maintained that it is apparent that energy (fuel and gas) is an essential of life and should be a product accessible to everyone at all cost; if it becomes unaffordable the wellbeing of the commoners will be challenged and many more people will die. As a matter of urgency, government should write off energy bills as one of the social welfare support for her citizens.

  2. ngoziokei Says:

    The cost of living/inflation is very high now. Therefore, the cost of energy and fuel bills will definitely be increasing every day. This makes life difficult to bear and contain in this kind of situation. With the high cost of living, people will be fraustrated and begin to show violence in their attitude/behaviour. Let us not forget the latest riots that shook the whole country, and made this government to work all through several nights, along with PM David Cameroon, to calm the situation before it gets out of hand. http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/crime-prever
    Task force was appointed by the World Energy Council to review development in the WTO, the Doha Round elsewhere and when desirable to make recommendations for trade rules govering energy goods, services and investments. http://www.worldenergy.org/docu ents/rules_of_
    http://www.worldenergy.org/publications/trade
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/interactive/2011
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/environment/climate

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