British GasBritish Gas, one of only four companies left advertising in this week’s News of the World when it was axed, has announced an 18% increase in fuel prices.

Spotting a fine opportunity to bury bad news, the energy company whispered out an announcement during David Cameron’s News of the World press conference.

Just yesterday British Gas was fined £1m by Ofgem for “misreporting” the amount of energy it had supplied from renewable sources. According to parent company Centrica, British Gas profits rose 24% last year to £742m.

Domestic gas prices will rise by an average of 18%, and electricity by 16% from 18th August. Just in time for what will likely be an extremely cold winter, especially for the poor and elderly.

Of course, if they don’t mind being associated with hacking murdered teenagers’ phones, they won’t mind a few freezing grannies.

  1. The massive price hikes in both domestic gas and electricity prices by around 20 % from August 2011, as announced today by British Gas (Centrica) are totally unjustified and sickening and just so callous; as they are likely to cost cost the lives of many thousands of poor and elderly people this coming winter.

    For years now the big six utility companies supplying domestic gas & electricity have been completely out of control and it now seems these companies are oblivious to the already existing severe financial hardship being experienced by millions ordinary people in the UK.

    The Government regulator Ofgem talk tough but seem to do very little, besides the utility companies know they are in charge of the market; without fear of proper regulation.

    Meanwhile the poor and elderly continue to die each winter from cold related illnesses in their thousands; too frightened to use their heating.
    Our callous, greedy and selfish society led by the big six utility companies who play ‘cat and mouse games’ with the toothless tiger Ofgem. Who continue to make ‘mealy mouthed’ promises about how they are going to get tough with the greedy utility companies, but in reality nothing changes or only superficial changes at best.

    The profits on domestic electric and gas continues to soar as they all play ‘follow my leader’ in charging the highest price they can possibly get away with, no one knows how they arrive at their prices or whether they are competitive or not, they seem to have no moral or social conscience in the human suffering that follows.

    Everything is wrong with this industry, the tariffs are unclear; deliberately I believe, the people with no computers or current accounts pay the highest prices, these are often the poor and the elderly.

    It is not possible for a customer to see clearly if they are on the best tariff or the most expensive and almost impossible to compare one company to another, especially if they are not online.

    There is also obvious mis-selling with sharp practices being used in accosting people in shopping centres, supermarkets and door to door cold calling, cold calling by telephone at all hours of the day and night 7 days a week; all promising to save vast sums of money if the person switches to them; all promises are unqualified and non regulated ( there is no paper record or ‘fact find’ to prove best advice was given) and in many cases they are costing the customer more money, than they are already paying if they stayed with their existing company.

    There are also enticing inducements; a chance to win tickets to switch, or the favourite enticement, is offering supermarket points. In one well known supermarket chain the utility company were stopping shoppers in the aisles, asking do you have a store card? Which most people obviously answered, yes, so the salesman said, If so we can give you a 1000 points on your card if you switch to our company. As a retired Sales Manager from the properly regulated Financial Services Company. I couldn’t believe they were allowed to ‘accost’ shoppers in this way and use such tactics to reel in one shopper after another. I made a formal complaint to the store manager who just shrugged her shoulders and was far too busy to worry about their loyal customers were being sold to in this way. This type of hustling should be stopped immediately.

    Just to give you an idea how callous these salespeople are, when my father died aged 85 of cancer I had to deal with his estate; to my horror I found that in the last six months of his life before he was taken into a home he had been asked for his signature and cheque book details by three different utility companies who had cold called at his house, despite his very confused and fragile state not to mention his great age, he was mis-sold to thee times by callous utility salespeople taking advantage of a frail dying old man! I felt sick and so upset when I realised what had happened to him.

    This is why I am so angry and determined to stop shameful selling practices and profiteering by these utility companies, who have got it made with massive increases in profits year on year, as the poor and the old continue to die in their thousands every winter, not to mention the many confused and elderly who continue to pay ‘top dollar’ because they just don’t understand what is going on.

    This whole industry needs to be radically changed from top to bottom, including replacing the ineffective regulator Ofgem.

    And perhaps the government could stop the false green stealth taxes which are also fuelling price rises beyond what people can afford. Ordinary people are being squeezed till the pips squeak every which way they look at the moment: As a result, I fear that many people will take their own lives, rather than live with such financial pressures and bills and debts they cannot afford to pay; but who really cares?

    Mr Cameron? The Energy Minister? The Utility Companies? The Government? Ofgem?

    I think non of the above!

    Simon

  2. Sheila Aynsley says:

    I lost my soul mate in Feb. There is no Widows Pension anymore and now Ive lost the Winter Fuel Benefit, Free TV License etc. as Im below pension age, I have a part time job with part time pay. So aswell as trying to cope with my Grief Im having to worry about whether i eat or heat this coming winter. Life isnt worth living for me at the moment and each blow is just another nail in my coffin. God help us all.

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