The first people to come under fire when new energy prices are announced are the energy companies. Customers assume that the prices must be within their control and so these receive the attack when a lot of the time they’re not to blame.
As Ofgem consider fining for companies being slow to act in the storms, the mis-selling of energy and not rolling out savings, the politicians hide in their shadows. It’s not just the energy companies that need to act in storms, many local councils have to be involved along with workmen, outside contractors and of course the HSE. Yes some energy companies have admitted they should have had more staff on board but what about the rest of the workers that could make short work of the damage by storms?
The mis-selling fines seem unreasonable too considering the energy sector went private some time ago. This means every company is a business and as a business needs to compete for custom in the traditional ways.
Look Closer and You’ll See the Devil in the Detail
Then the firms criticised for not rolling out this £50 saving. Yet when other taxes are added that were rolled out in the autumn statement there really isn’t a saving to be made at all. Energy companies are quite stuck as David Cameron cleverly rearranges the fees, which makes the bills look exactly the same. Is it any wonder some are reluctant to roll out the savings when they know the savings will be swallowed whole and once again they’ll be the target for consumer dis-satisfaction? As Scottish Power said,
“At present, 97pc of customers on fixed price products already have a lower bill value as these new standard tariffs. These customers were protected from the rising cost of green levies as they were not impacted by our recent price rise. Once these products reach the end of their term, these customers will then receive the benefit of this reduction.”
How the Media Markets the Change
It seems there’s not a day goes by when the energy companies aren’t in the news as fines follow fines for discrepancies such as being slow to act, mis-selling energy and door to door sales. The governing body responsible for delivering these fines is of course Ofgem but despite their efforts to control the private energy sector, they’re constantly under fire for not doing enough.
They’ve received criticism as some believe they’re actually scared of the big six and with the latest developments Ofgem is feeling the heat.
The conservative government made a big change to green levies, cutting costs on free insulation to give every household a fifty pound a year saving. Despite this seemingly good news, (£50 per year was added again to pay for a new green tax, the development of wind farms), three of the big six are being scolded for not implementing the change. SSE promises to introduce the cut by March while Npower and Scottish Power refuse to reveal details of when they’ll follow suit. Despite the energy companies explaining the reasons behind the delay the public continue to hate. On the face of it it seems as if the government has done all it can for now and so the public turns to Ofgem to act.
Welcome to the new Ofgem Minister
As a new Ofgem Chief Executive Dermot Nolan takes charge in March, we don’t envy his role as he has the task of trying to please all of the people all of the time while having very little control.