Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 July 2008

Household bills set to soar

Stop The Gas Price Rip-Off

Nationalise the energy companies

MANY PEOPLE'S minds were recently jerked away from planning their summer holidays, into a cold and wintry future. The privatised gas and energy supplier Centrica predicted that average gas bills could rise from 600 to over 1,000 in 2010 - that's an extra 8 a week.

Roger Shrives

Centrica owns British Gas and makes big profits - up 500% to 1.2 billion before tax last year. Last month, Centrica warned it would take "necessary action to deliver reasonable margins [profits - eds] in the retail business." That obviously meant more price hikes were coming and, sure enough, they are now threatening 60-70% price rises on top of last year's 15%.

But Centrica's managing director Jake Ulrich (1 million a year salary) had some advice on how to cope for those without millions in the bank - save on bills, he said and put on two sweaters instead of one!

Who does this overpaid comedian think he's talking to? People on low budgets do economise, especially in a time of recession, and they do put on extra clothing in the cold. But how many sweaters would we need, to save 60% of our gas costs?

Consumer group Energywatch estimates that around 4.4 million households already struggle to find the money to heat their homes properly. If you spend more than a tenth of your income on fuel, that's fuel poverty. The figures for that are already the highest for a decade.

Who is responsible for these price rises? Centrica and other energy giants blame the increased prices they pay for gas and oil. True, prices have soared. But these energy corporations themselves have interests in the world's oil and gas industries, so at the same time they are gaining from high wholesale prices! Npower's parent group owns and develops its own oil and gas fields, as does Centrica.

The privatised energy companies' main concern is profit. Before privatisation, MPs could have some influence on price rises and also help determine how surpluses were reinvested. Now the main question deciding how the energy industry is run is how much money its directors and top shareholders can make out of it. A recent report found about 2.3 billion of the 8 billion increase in gas prices is unaccounted for. In reality that's more of the companies' profit.

Governments used to tell us privatisation would bring lower prices, but that has been shown up as nonsense.

The trade unions should adopt the slogan "open the books", in other words, let's have a look at all their accounts! Where have all the profits gone? They are paying out huge salaries to those at the top and massive dividends too. We suspect they easily have enough money to avoid these huge, inflation-busting price rises.

If these capitalist firms claim that the money is not there or refuse to cooperate, the unions must use the anger of their own members and the general public to force even this pro-privatisation government to renationalise these industries. Such vital services should never have been placed in careless, private profit-seeking hands in the first place.

Let elected workers' representatives run the industries under democratic control, in the interests of the people who use the services and work in their production and distribution. We should fight for a socialist transformation of society so that the fuel industry runs in the people's interests, not that of the profiteers.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 22 July 2008:

Stop The Gas Price Rip-Off

Car taxes add to inflation misery

Local government strike

Build further action after successful council strike

Reports of the Unsion strike

Pictures of the Unison strike

Socialist Party workplace news

Argos workers strike against insulting pay offer

London bus drivers' protest

PCS strikes

Usdaw election

Socialist Party news and analysis

Punishing the jobless for being jobless

Bankers' dirty tricks?

International socialist news and analysis

Say no to military attack on Iran

Political impasse in the Kurdish region of Iraq

Pakistan: 50,000 textile workers strike


Home   |   The Socialist 22 July 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleHurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

triangleCorbyn's manifesto: An important step in the right direction

triangleTories out! Corbyn can win with socialist policies

triangleTheatre review: Fracked! Political satire skewers frackers

triangle47,000 kids exposed to illegal toxic air


triangleAnti-fracking campaigners' legal fight

triangleHundreds evacuated after Labour council dismisses cracks in tower blocks

triangleGMB union should support anti-fracking campaigners in Fylde

triangleToxic fracking could start in England in 2017


triangleNasty party out the Tories

triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike


triangleTories and Blairites in pockets of big business: kick them out!


triangleAirwave jobs strike

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni



PCS ballots members on the pay cap


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice