Sunday, 16 October 2011

Press release
Sunday 16th October 2011

For immediate use

Energy firms should use profits to stop crippling price rises- Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party, has today called on energy firms to use their profits to stop crippling prices rises.

Writing in the Sunday Mirror today, Ed Miliband said:

“Electricity and gas bills are going to force a huge winter squeeze on the finances of families and the elderly. Energy prices have risen remorselessly, with the typical dual fuel bill going up almost 50 per cent in four years.

"The rises come as the National Grid prepares for weather as bitter as 2010 which saw the coldest December on record. And,winter fuel payments have been cut by £50 for the over 60s and £100 for the over 80s.

"For those facing this triple hit, there will be scant comfort in the sight of David Cameron holding an Energy Summit in Downing Street tomorrow.

"Ministers in suits around a warm table will do nothing to persuade people that Mr Cameron and this Tory-led government understand the realities of families struggling to pay the bills.

"All the big six energy firms have seen their profits rise sharply this year. On Friday, Ofgem said the profit margin for energy companies has risen to £125 per customer per year - up from £15 in June. There is nothing to stop those power companies giving up those profits. Instead of an improved bottom line they could use this extra money to stop crippling price rises.

"Mr Cameron should also take this opportunity to support the fundamental reshaping of the energy market I called for at the Labour Party conference. We must put an end to a rigged market which allows the energy firms to rip off families and businesses who desperately need help. At present, 80 per cent of people pay too much for their energy. If the few big dominant firms were forced to sell the power they generate to any retailer, companies such as supermarkets could come into the market. There would be more competition and the upward pressure on prices would be eased.

“People want Mr Cameron to act. We shall find out tomorrow whether he is listening.”