Wednesday 26th October 2016                 Change text size:

Ed Davey: energy firms should not squeeze customers for higher returns

Liberal Democrats via Flickr

Energy secretary Ed Davey is expected to criticise energy companies in a speech on Tuesday, in which he will compare the recent price hikes to the ‘greed’ usually associated with bankers.

Speaking at the trade body Energy UK’s annual conference, Davey is set to say that energy firm make enough profits to invest in their own new technologies that would see costs reduced in the long-term. 

He will say, “But those profits cannot come at the expense of the elderly, the vulnerable, and the poorest in our society. Customers are not just cash cows to be squeezed in the pursuit of a higher return for shareholders.

Trust between those who supply energy and those who use it is breaking down.

“It is so difficult for people to work out what exactly they are paying for that they fear the big energy companies are taking them for a ride when bills go up.”

These claims have already been dismissed by Energy UK. A spokesperson accused Davey of engaging in a “tit for tat Punch and Judy show”. 

They added, The energy industry is vital to the UK. It is a major employer, a serious investor and a significant taxpayer. As analysis from UBS shows, about 95% of rising energy costs are out of the hands of the energy companies and can be attributed to government policies and other network, social and environmental costs.

Coinciding with the conference, Energy UK is also launching Energy Made Clear, an initiative to provide consumers with information on switching, prices and energy saving tips.

Angela Knight, CEO of the organisation, said, “Many people are not aware of the help that is available to them when they get into difficulty. Energy Made Clear will make it easier to people to understand how the industry works and get the help they need if they need it.

Further reading:

Big six energy companies at risk of losing investment

Energy price hikes lead to low consumer trust in industry

Ed Davey says energy companies must put customers in control

Big six energy bosses grilled by MPs over price hikes

UK second worst for fuel poverty in EU – as groups warn over coming ‘crisis’

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