Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Ofgem, Ofcom, Ofwat - So What?

News today that Ofgem have fined SSE £10.5million for miselling their gas and electricity products. To make up for 'their bad', SSE had already established a £5million 'mis-selling' fund to compensate affected customers - they've paid out nearly £400,000 from this already, but no mention of what hoops you need to jump through to make a claim i.e. get compensated for them dishonestly exploiting your need for gas or electricity, whilst presumably you remain a customer being bled dry to feed the near 40% rise in profits they made last year (£397.5m in the 6 months from April to September 2012). As if that wasn't enough they lumped a 9% price hike upon us which we simply take on the chin.

What happens to the fine money though? Well, it's paid into the Exchequer's Consolidated Fund - a single bank account. That's now George Osborne's money, presumably he'll use it to further bribe his rich pals in the banking sector not to abandon us... No, it doen't go back to the customers or get fed into the network for these improvements which they apparently need (that's why the companies need so much profit don't you know!).

So here it is as I see it. A private company uses the networks which our forefathers paid for and built, to leech as much money as they can from us. They make eye-wateringly, huge sums of money in profit and yet still come back to the well for more. If they get caught telling porky pies to steal our custom from the other suppliers who already have us by the short & curlies, they get a fine equivalent to approx 1/80 of their annual profits - which goes straight to the government - I always think our money which goes to the government should be classed as tax. They can raise prices pretty well as they please - hmmm, Wonder how they'll make up that missing £10million from this year? As they raise prices, our tax contribution also rises linearly - so no real reason for the government to object, but if the government do want to make a show of punishing the companies, they 'fine' them - which increases the government take, but does nothing to mitigate the flow of money from our wallets...

Have I missed anything? This is capitalism. This is S.E. England economics.... Better together? Aye Right!

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