'Energy companies price hikes... they’re just doing their job!' blog discussion

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  • JimmyTheWig
    JimmyTheWig Posts: 12,199 Forumite
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    magyar wrote: »
    Why is this 'an evil deed'? Food is no less critical a 'utility' but I don't hear people calling for nationalisation of Tesco's and Sainsbury's.
    I'd be perfectly happy to see the nationalisation of food.
    But failing to make things better (i.e. not nationalising the food industry) isn't quite as bad as making things worse (i.e. privatising the energy industry).
  • MSE_Martin
    MSE_Martin Posts: 8,272 Money Saving Expert
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    Some very interesting points above. I'm going to do the site poll this week on

    Privatisation v renationalisation v price control
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
    Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
  • magyar
    magyar Posts: 18,909 Forumite
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    I'd be perfectly happy to see the nationalisation of food.
    But failing to make things better (i.e. not nationalising the food industry) isn't quite as bad as making things worse (i.e. privatising the energy industry).

    Primum non nocere, as the Hippocratic oath would say.

    I fear that irrespective of our respective views on nationalisation vs. privatisation, the UK government simply couldn't afford to nationalise most industries. Off the top of my head, buying up all the 'big six' utilities would cost in the region of £50-60bn and you'd then have several more £bn in terms of integrating them all.
    Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
    Beats a '52 Vincent and a red headed girl
  • magyar wrote: »
    Why is this 'an evil deed'? Food is no less critical a 'utility' but I don't hear people calling for nationalisation of Tesco's and Sainsbury's.

    The difference is that food supply has always been in private hands and so people are used to shopping around. I maintain that the problem is not 'evil utilities' but people simply doing very little about switching (and Ofgem not helping making the process easier).

    The difference is, if Tesco charges £3 for a loaf of bread, I can walk down the road to Asda and get one for £1. That change can happen instantly. Supermarkets know that, so they keep their prices in-check and fight for your custom.

    Energy suppliers, on the other hand, know that changing is a hassle, and doesn't happen quickly. What's more, it's nearly impossible to tell what price you're paying for your energy, because it's so complex and there are so many tariffs.

    If I could shop and switch for new energy on a daily basis, and switch at the click of a mouse, then things would change. Energy companies would need to be more honest, and would fight for your custom.
  • wotsthat
    wotsthat Posts: 11,325 Forumite
    I agree. The people who did the evil deed were the politicians who privatised the energy market.

    This is looking back at the past with rose tinted glasses. If politicians were in charge of the energy market we'd have more interuptions in supply and overall, because the state is so inefficient at providing services, would be paying more.

    Energy suppliers, on the other hand, know that changing is a hassle, and doesn't happen quickly. What's more, it's nearly impossible to tell what price you're paying for your energy, because it's so complex and there are so many tariffs.

    If I could shop and switch for new energy on a daily basis, and switch at the click of a mouse, then things would change. Energy companies would need to be more honest, and would fight for your custom.

    It's a piece of p**s to change energy supplier and takes 10 minutes.

    Things will only change when a greater proportion of the population take an interest in making sure they are getting a good energy deal instead of being outraged after reading media reports and then doing NOTHING!

    I had to laugh at the photo in the article. Martin is telling us that the energy companies aren't evil but he chose to use a photo of a couple of cuddly old folk freezing next to the fire - I think that sends a different message to the one stated.
  • magyar
    magyar Posts: 18,909 Forumite
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    The difference is, if Tesco charges £3 for a loaf of bread, I can walk down the road to Asda and get one for £1. That change can happen instantly. Supermarkets know that, so they keep their prices in-check and fight for your custom.

    Energy suppliers, on the other hand, know that changing is a hassle, and doesn't happen quickly. What's more, it's nearly impossible to tell what price you're paying for your energy, because it's so complex and there are so many tariffs.

    If I could shop and switch for new energy on a daily basis, and switch at the click of a mouse, then things would change. Energy companies would need to be more honest, and would fight for your custom.

    In practice it wouldn't make sense to be able to switch supplier on a daily basis*, but I get your point - and totally agree with it - see my first post in this thread.

    * Actually I've often wondered whether there would be a gap in the market for a company which provided 'spot pricing', i.e. it literally bought on the day of delivery and sold it on to you. So during the summer you'd pay less and in the winter you'd pay more. In fact when we have smart metering, it would be theoretically possible to charge people different rates on a half-hourly basis, encouraging people to use electricity when it's cheapest (at night).
    Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
    Beats a '52 Vincent and a red headed girl
  • Yes Martin,

    We've only got ourselves to blame for allowing our British companies to be sold off, (with the emphasis then switching from the Consumers well being to the Shareholders profit!)

    It's time for all of us to examine what it is exactly that we are voting for come Election times, to really 'read the fine print' very carefully as so often 'what's on offer' from our politicians (and the consequence of their ideas), are often likely not to be in our long term interest!
    Politicians are mostly intellectuals, and as such, often have no common sense!
    Brilliant minds but no practical or common sense abilities.
    The Power companies are in the situation that you and I have allowed them to be, and will act in their own interests, not ours!
    It's not their fault at all if / when they 'hike' our energy prices.
    Look to see who you voted for, and then hold them to account for getting us all in this energy mess that we now find ourselves in.
    Don't blame the Energy companies, blame ourselves, learn from this!
    We were all warned years ago many times, of the looming energy crisis.
    What have our previous governments all done about it?
    Very little.
  • wotsthat
    wotsthat Posts: 11,325 Forumite
    We've only got ourselves to blame for allowing our British companies to be sold off, (with the emphasis then switching from the Consumers well being to the Shareholders profit!)

    Government has a shocking record of delivering direct services. I bet we'd be paying more for energy if it was nationalised.

    If a private company can deliver a better service and price and make a profit for themselves good luck to them. I'd like to see the private sector have a go at running the NHS as well.
    What have our previous governments all done about it? Very little.

    You've not actually said what you expect government to do just that they should be doing 'something'.
  • jamesd
    jamesd Posts: 26,103 Forumite
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    wotsthat wrote: »
    I had to laugh at the photo in the article. Martin is telling us that the energy companies aren't evil but he chose to use a photo of a couple of cuddly old folk freezing next to the fire - I think that sends a different message to the one stated.
    Maybe, but Martin tends to look at the whole picture and would also know that the energy companies didn't decide how much money they should put aside for their retirement and didn't decide on work and state pension payments that they should receive. Nor whether medical treatments or other bad events might have used up their prudent savings. Looking at the background of the room it also appears that if the fireplace is in proportion they may be in a property that may be quite large, allowing that particular couple to downsize and afford the bills.

    What an elderly couple is is a group that's particularly vulnerable to cold, with notably higher death rates during cold weather. This current cold period will result in the early deaths of quite a few people through things like increased rates of heart attack. Perhaps 10,000 earlier deaths among people of all ages after a week of very cold temperatures. For this reason global warming has so far been helpful here due to reduced winter death rates.
  • magyar
    magyar Posts: 18,909 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    wotsthat wrote: »
    Government has a shocking record of delivering direct services. I bet we'd be paying more for energy if it was nationalised.

    Exactly, and for proof of that just ask anyone who used to work in the old Central Electricity Generating Board. There was no concept of acting 'in the consumer's interest', what they did was to set up a veritable 'Rolls Royce' in terms of our power stations. Everything was beautifully painted, maintenance schedules were kept perfectly.

    When everything was privatised, the paint was left to peel, maintenance schedules were prioritised in terms of (1) safety and (2) economical operation.

    I think of those, it's quite clear which is 'in the consumer's interest'.
    Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
    Beats a '52 Vincent and a red headed girl
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