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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 October 2012

Stop the gas price hike - Nationalise the utilities!

Alec Price
Stop the gas price hike - graph shows that household gas prices do not mirror wholesale gas prices as claimed, photo Sources: Office for National Statistics/Bloomberyg

  (Click to enlarge)

The privately owned gas companies are going to hike up the price of gas and electricity...again!

The biggest energy provider, British Gas, is increasing its prices by an average of 6% - adding around 80 a year to our bills. Following this, four of the other 'big 6' energy firms followed suit with similar prices hikes. The only exception is E.ON which has a price freeze for 2012.

Someone on a salary of at least 1 million like Phil Bentley, the managing director of British Gas, will probably not even notice a 6% increase in his bills. But millions of working class people across the UK will be feeling the pinch.

Senior Manager for Age UK Redbridge, James Monger, said: "We are very disappointed by this latest increase. We know that deaths among the elderly increase as the weather gets colder and with people's savings being worth less than they were three or four years ago this is bad news."

Despite the claim of private companies and politicians of a 'free market' creating 'competition', gas and electricity is provided almost exclusively by the 'big 6'. Instead of competition, private ownership of the utilities has produced an 'oligopoly' - a small group of firms that act like a monopoly over a product or industry.

One of the key arguments parroted by energy bosses is that a rising price in wholesale gas has to be passed on. In 2008, when British Gas put up gas prices by a record 35% boss Phil Bentley claimed "we have entered an era of unprecedented high world energy prices."

But when wholesale prices fall, prices aren't dropped, meaning super-profits for top bosses and major shareholders. British Gas Residential announced profits of 345 million in the first half of the year - up 23% year-on-year.

Socialists argue for the utility companies to be nationalised, to be run as a public service for people's needs. Combined with investment in green energy this would lead to cheaper prices, jobs and a more efficient system.

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In The Socialist 17 October 2012:


Fighting the cuts

We want a 24-hour general strike!

Southampton anti-cuts councillors form new council group

Meetings after 20th October TUC demonstration


Socialist Party feature

Socialism 2012


Socialist Party news and analysis

Academies: march to defend education on 20 October

Stop the gas price hike - Nationalise the utilities!

Osborne's 'shares' plan threatens rights

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Unions must build the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)


Socialist history

Who was Malcolm X?

Poll tax: When organised mass action defeated the Tories

Liverpool 1983-87


Socialist Party youth and students

Youth Fight for Jobs fortnight of action 13-28 October


International socialist news and analysis

Fight for a socialist and internationalist alternative to the crisis-ridden EU

Solidarity with Miners in South Africa

US elections: And the winner is... Wall Street!

Pakistan: Workers die as profit put before safety

Tamil Solidarity

Campaign Kazakhstan


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Hands off our NHS! - Victory in Gloucestershire

Stop the far right from 'uniting' on 27 October

Stop health robbery in Sherwood Forest

Tough choices

Chase the sharks out of Toon!

Invest in caring - we're worth it!


Socialist Party workplace news

Lecturers fight cuts

Amnesty International staff take strike action

Bus drivers: We need shorter hours!

Hospital staff in Stockton and Hartlepool threatened with worse terms and conditions

Attacks on Bromley workers

Workplace news in brief


The Socialist Party

The Socialist - Help us build it with the 20-20-20 plan!

Fight back against austerity - support the Socialist Party

Why I joined

New sales of the Socialist in Kenilworth


 

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