Cold comfort for our pensioners as energy profits rocket

That’s the headline in today’s Yorkshire Post on a piece by Nick Clegg:

PENSIONERS sitting in coats, hats and scarves in their sitting rooms to keep warm. Others living the whole winter in their bedroom because they can only afford to heat a single room. Our senior citizens reduced to a choice between heating and eating.

And all the while, British Gas is raking in £1,000 of profit every minute of the day. The truth is, the only people who are cosy this winter are the companies who send us our ever-rising bills.

So what do we do to get a fair deal on fuel for all of us?…

I want the competition watchdog to investigate the big six energy producers, who control most of the market. We need to know if there’s any underhand dealing going on to keep prices high, or keep out smaller companies that might offer us a better deal. The review by the regulator, Ofgem, announced last week, must be tough and thorough – we must know if they are working fairly for their customers…

We should demand companies offer fair, lower charges for vulnerable customers like pensioners or parents struggling on income support.

At the moment, almost every company charges a high price for the first few units of energy you use – and then less for the rest. That’s totally unfair on people trying to economise or save the environment by using less. The system should be reversed, so your basic energy needs are cheaper.

And we’ve got to stop the overcharging of people on pre-pay meters. They shouldn’t have to pay more than ordinary customers. There’s an extra problem for people who use old-style token meters, who can be stung for back-dated price rises because the energy companies take months to update their meters. I want that ended too. The energy companies may squeal that they can’t afford it. But that’s total nonsense. They’re rolling in money at the moment…

And we should invest far more time and energy into helping people keep their homes warm with less energy. That way families can save money and save the planet…

And the Government should finalise a date to roll out across the country clever new “smart meters”. These devices make it much easier for families to see what energy they’re using and work out how best to use less.

You can read the full piece here.

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