By Andrew Wright (Workers GB Writers Group)
UK energy regulator “Ofgem” is to investigate suppliers who switch vulnerable energy customers to pre-payment meters by force.
The announcement comes after a number of high profile cases expose the ruthlessness with which energy suppliers treat their poorest customers.
Ofgem is careful to emphasise that it does not possess “legal powers” to compel Companies to not bully customers into having pre-payment meters installed, suggesting an urgent change in the law is required for this toothless regulator, rather than hope that energy suppliers will have some sort of Dickensian “change of heart” like Ebenezer Scrooge, and put customer needs, not to mention customer health, before profits and shareholder dividends. In this pitiless capitalist racket Ofgem requires teeth, (not to mention claws), and they need to be very fast and very sharp.
The Secretary of State for Energy Grant Schapps informs us that he intends to “name and shame” companies that do not “volunteer” to accept Ofgem’s missives with regard to customer support. Naming and shaming is a simple expedient for the Government to do nothing but allow its endless besotted love affair with “free market” capitalism to continue, with no legally binding limits and boundaries being set on Company profits and shareholder parasitism.
In the interim, utility company customers remain compelled to stump up ever increasing amounts of cash to pay for utilities that should in any case be under public ownership.
The right-wing French Government has recently compelled its own energy suppliers to provide lower energy prices for French customers; (EDF being one example.) Only in France however. In Britain, the British Government allows EDF to charge whatever prices EDF chooses to set for UK customers.
Secretary of State Schapps has no personal need to worry his own head about utility bills as, according to the website “Allfamousbirthday.com”, Mr Schapps is worth a very cool five million US Dollars; a fact that compels attention for our readers and all working class people.