Centrica poised to flounce if elected Labour bring in energy price freeze
Poor old profit-crazed Centrica are in a tizz today, after Ed Miliband threw a potential spanner in their money-producing works.
During his speech at the Labour party conference yesterday, Miliband announced that a 2015 Labour government would introduce a 20-month energy price freeze.
While shivering punters and consumer groups are pleased at the prospect of this, the energy suppliers seem less enamoured, claiming that price freezes could lead to blackouts and all other manner of horribleness. Yeah, right.
Miliband said that suppliers have been overcharging for years and that a temporary freeze will save households an average of £120 a year, while businesses could look to save about £1,800 per year.
He’s not scared to roll his sleeves up and wade into a fight either (apparently). The Labour leader said that he’ll ‘take action’ if suppliers respond by upping their prices ahead of a 20-month freeze.
‘It's time we fixed it and they can either choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. I hope they choose to be part of the solution,’ he snarled while sucking some gas out of a tube and spitting it into a bin. Possibly.
Since 2007, gas bills have risen by an average of 41% in real terms, while electricity has gone up by 20%, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This has contributed to overall industry profits of £2.15bn in 2009, £2.22bn in 2010, £3.87bn in 2011 and £3.74bn in 2012.
We’re no mathematicians, but we’re fairly certain that the energy industry won’t collapse if faced with a 20-month price freeze on the back of those numbers.
Centrica have responded by hinting that they might be prepared to pull out of the UK if Labour are elected and the freeze is introduced. Fine – it was Phil Collins who threatened to bugger off before they were elected in 1997 and we all coped quite nicely with that situation.