Good news for energy companies: profits among the biggest players are up, thanks to plummeting wholesale costs.
British Gas, the biggest player in the UK, looks set to achieve profit growth of 43% this year, while Scottish & Southern Energy, the UK’s second biggest energy supplier, revealed last month a 36% jump in profits to £410.5 million. E.ON, EDF Energy and npower also all look set to enjoy a healthy rise in profits.
While it’s refreshing to hear about companies doing well during the credit crunch, I for one won’t be cracking open the champagne (or should that be Cava?) to toast their success. In fact, it leaves an extremely bad taste in my mouth.
Energy bills increased by as much as 50% last year, when we customers were told that energy companies had no choice but to pass on higher wholesale costs. The past 12 months have seen suppliers enjoy significant respite from the crippling cost of oil, yet energy bills have barely shrunk, with thousands of customers only receiving a 4% reduction.
Worse, energy bills could spike by a shocking 60% over the next decade because of the need for energy suppliers to invest in infrastructure.
Of course, I know these companies are not charities, and in order for them to provide a good service to households they need to make a profit, but surely they could pass on some of their financial success to us? Not only that, what I’d also like to see is greater transparency, so we can all understand why bills had to rise so much last year – and fall by such a piddling amount in 2009.
The energy companies assure us they aren’t ripping us off and are helping customers reduce energy consumption. I say: put your money where your mouth is, and prove it!