An innocuous sounding ‘balancing mechanism’ tool used by the privately owned National Grid and passed on by electricity companies is actually a ‘manipulative tactic’ designed to drive up profits and charge us more for on our bills.

Under the balancing mechanism, power station companies get paid varying rates for turning output up or down, on a minute-by-minute basis. The cost of this system is ultimately borne by bill payers via ‘network costs’ included on bills.

Daily balancing costs hit a record of £60 million on a single day in November 2021, while the total annual balancing cost paid for by consumers reached £3.1 billion during that financial year.

Ofgem is now threatening fines of up to 10% of revenues if the practice is continued – this doesn’t mean we’re going to see an end to it though, and 10% of mega-profits is hardly punishment.

We need to own and control the energy sector – both energy operators and providers – by nationalising all these private companies under democratic workers’ control and ownership, to stop the rip-off in accessing this basic need.