Centrica, owners of British Gas, today revealed their profits had dipped slightly to £2.7bn. British Gas profits from their customers was announced to be £571,000,000 – that’s £571m of pure profit made at a time when over 10,000 people died last winter from cold homes, when 20% of households are in debt to their supplier, when about 1 in 4 people are making the “choice” between heating or eating. Centrica wanted sympathy and asked that hostilities towards them and the energy sector must end.
We don’t agree.
Centrica talk about wanting an ‘end to hostilities’ and it’s an appropriate way of looking at the situation of millions of people in fuel poverty today. People in fuel poverty do feel like there’s a war against them, they do feel attacked by a company which breaks into their homes to install unwanted and expensive Prepayment meters, with prices that are so violently high that they’re forced top chose between heating and eating. We all feel abused by a company that makes £7million profit per day but sees it fit to raise prices by 9.2% and let people freeze to death in their homes. The communities in Lancashire which have clearly said NO to fracking feel violated by Centrica going for shale Gas, with all it’s associated risks to health, wellbeing and environment, at a time when we need to be slashing our carbon emissions and going for renewable, sustainable energy.
We think the way to ‘cease hostilities’ as Rick Haythornthwaite, the newly appointed Chairman of Centrica puts it, is to end the profiteering of energy companies like Centrica. Energy is not a game. Warm, damp and mould free homes are not a privilege for the rich. They should be a minimum standard that everyone should have access to. Over 70% of the British public want to see energy back in public hands. Centrica need to wake up and smell the coffee – the days of a for-profit energy market in the UK are numbered.
We will be targeting British Gas as a symbol of everything that’s wrong with our energy system. We will be holding a mass protest this May at their AGM in London. We will be joined by those hardest hit by fuel poverty and we will be calling on the government to bring our energy back into public, democratic ownership and to invest massively in renewable, community owned energy. We want to see an end to winter deaths and sickness from fuel poverty. We want to see an end to the ‘Poverty Premium’ faced by millions in this country forced into dependency on payday lenders, sky-high rents, ‘kettle packs’ at foodbanks and extortionate pre-payment meters. Enough is enough. It’s time to end the cold homes casino and callous profiteering of companies like British Gas. Rick Haythornwaite: stop punishing us and profiteering from us. Until you do there will be no end to the pain, distress and anger that people all over the country feel precisely as a result of yours and the other Big Six’s insatiable lust for profit. No justice, No peace.