Energy Summit today – will anything change?

The Prime Minister, Chris Huhne and assorted industry and consumer groups will be meeting today to discuss how energy bills can be lowered.

Driving into work this morning, it was obvious that one of the key messages will be switch supplier and save.

It’s a difficult concept when all the major energy providers have all put their prices up – those price rises just ‘kicking in’ for many homes.

And if you’ve been paying monthly for your energy and the amount you’ve paid is short of the amount you’ve used, then you’ll probably have to settle your account before you can switch. That could be several hundred for some families.

I tried it once – switching from E-On to British Gas. It was a complete pain and I received so many bills for different bits of meter readings, that I sincerely wished I’d just stayed put in the first place. My experience may not have been the norm, but I get the impression talking to others that my ‘bad’ experience was not unique.

I don’t want to put anyone off switching – apparently there are genuine savings to be made, depending on your usage and circumstances. I’m just warning you it may not go as smoothly as advertised.

And did you hear last weeks headlines that in a lot of cases, energy providers weren’t advising new customers of their cheapest tariff’s?

Sure the energy companies are a business and like any business, they’re in business to make money.

But when it’s such a staple commodity, should excessive profits be allowed? A car manufacturer or a computer brand – fare enough, but water and energy are surely basic human rights.

When we live in a civilised society where families are having to make daily hard choices about whether they turn their heating on or put food on the table, then there’s something very wrong.

Very wrong indeed.

What’s the answer? Rate caps – max profit bands – fair play charters? Hopefully, those more learned than I on the subject – meeting today – will come up with an answer. Who knows? Maybe they’ll see renewables as the way forward to reducing all our energy bills…

(rant over).

photo credit: kris mouser-brown

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