Bookmark and ShareAndrew Simms is nef‘s Policy Director and head of nef’s Climate Change programme.

A letter to the Observer, 14th December 2008.

oil1We are gravely concerned at the behaviour of energy companies who are refusing to pass on price cuts to consumers, in spite of the sharp falls in the world price of crude oil.

Average annual spending on energy per household has breached £1,200. Since 2000, gas prices have risen 100 per cent and electricity 61 per cent. Correspondingly, energy providers’ profits have risen from £557m in 2003 to over £5bn today. Similarly, oil companies have announced huge windfall profits.

The record price rises coupled with the refusal of companies to pass on cost cuts could increase those in fuel poverty beyond six million. While the government’s energy package of long-term measures worth £900m over three years is welcome, this won’t go far enough to end fuel poverty.

In 2008 the inflated price of energy continues to make massive unearned profits for providers. We urge government to introduce a new windfall tax if these companies continue to refuse to pass on their cost cuts to consumers. Revenues from any windfall tax should be targeted at homes in fuel poverty to give them immediate help and should also be used to start a programme of home insulation to protect people from future price rises.

Gavin Hayes Compass; Neal Lawson Compass; Chuka Umunna Labour PPC Streatham; Jon Cruddas MP; Kate Hoey MP; Fabian Hamilton MP; Clive Betts MP; Mark Donne Fair Pay Network; Andrew Simms nef; Prof Ruth Lister CBE; Roger Berry MP; Sir Steve Bullock Mayor of Lewisham; Prof Sally Ruane; Richard Murphy Tax Justice Network UK

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