Trying to think of a title for posting is difficult especially as we are fortunate to have some excellent posters on here whose writing is much better than mine.
Note. I started this piece before the referendum but was so engrossed with the comments on this site I forgot to finish it. (I know nobody reads the comments but Shhh, please don’t tell my dirty secret, I do)
I have been following this blog thingy for a while now, and we have a good mix of ages to share our experiences, thoughts and laughs with. As a more mature poster I like to think back to previous years when life didn’t seem so difficult or problematic. We had food on the table, kids could play outside, parents gave you a wallop for misbehaving, and so on. When I was growing up we had punk. I hated it at the time but today listen to it quite frequently as it invoked a new dawn for us youngsters at the time. Now, one of my favourite quotes from the time was by a Mr John Lydon “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated”. I will answer that at the end of this.
This might be looking back with rose tinted spectacles but one thing I remember back when I was young that when the usual bills arrived through the post, they got the usual groan but also got paid. Nowadays we all dread the Gas, Electricity, Water and Council Tax bills dropping through the letter box.
When did all these bills become so expensive? I bought my first flat in 1995 and remember the direct debits for gas and electricity was £20 each month for each and I used to over pay so I could get a refund at the end of the year. I think most would agree that it was from 1997, when our newly crowned chancellor was going to abolish boom and bust and prudence was all over the news. As much as I detest Labour and the idiot chancellor the blame cannot be laid solely at their feet.
So let’s change the title for this piece.
The Great Gas and Electricity Swindle
Back in the good old days (or bad, depending on your viewpoint) we used to have a nationalised industry providing the energy needs for this country. Bar any strikes it worked well and the price to us consumers was not extortionate. So what changed?
Well the Tories sold British Gas to investors small and large but even so it was still responsible for the development and maintenance of the supply of Gas to Great Britain. In other words, a one-man band. Same principal happened to Power Gen and National Power, the regional Electric Companies and National Grid in the nineties. All now in private hands but functioned as before basically. All was fine until our so called friends in the EU decided to interfere.
EU Directive 96/92/EC Electric and EU Directive 98/30/EC Gas were put in place for the Liberalisation of Gas and Electricity markets. Followed up by subsequent legislation. So what does this mean for us as consumers?
Basically it was to split the supply and production activities from the transmission of the product and that consumers were free to purchase their gas and electricity from any supplier on the market (the Big Six). So before when British Gas was a national industry they got the gas out of the ground, piped it into our homes and charged us for it. Simple. Now we have the producers extracting the Gas, another company moving the gas through the pipelines and another selling the gas to the end customer. From having one CEO, we now have three and likewise for similar staff functions so we have increased costs straightaway which are passed onto us consumers. But there is also the hidden role of the trading fraternity. These companies will buy the gas/electricity direct from the producers and sell to each other and eventually to the Big Six (other suppliers are available). The traders do not necessarily have to be in this country to trade on our markets so when they make profits on their trades then any corporation tax is not payable in the UK. Even the ones based here transfer price their profits overseas so basically no tax for the treasury. This is a problem all over Europe not just the UK. I’m sure there are people on here who have been overseas for a while and can relate to when these prices shot up.
I am no socialist but some things should not be left to the market but to the Government to run. I would propose that any future Government take back control of our Energy from the private sector as it has failed and too many of our pensioners, disabled and poorer members of society are going cold, being made ill or even dying because of the city’s greed. This can only be done once we have Brexited though so any politician that wants to in the EU agrees to these practices.
After the stitch up have had from the politicians since winning the referendum, we need to start pulling together information that the Remainers have promised and failed to live up to, and any current practices they support and dissect it and throw it back in their faces.
Let us start to make their lives a bit more uncomfortable, just the same as they have done to Andrea Leadsom.
Oh, in case I forget. In answer to Mr John Lydon, well and truly!!!!!!