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Energy News: Miliband Misses the Point… Again

In an increasingly bizarre twist in the trend of political intervention in the energy market, and following his equally leftfield call for centralised energy price setting, Labour leader Ed Miliband has claimed the credit for SSE launching a domestic price fix for its customer base.

SSE announced a fixed gas and electricity deal for domestic customers through to 2016; a move they claim is

“the longest unconditional price guarantee ever offered by an energy company”.

Fixed domestic price contracts are not uncommon; in fact they are a feature of all domestic suppliers product range.

Indeed SSE quote ¾ of people expecting prices to rise in 2015 and over 80% expecting energy price rises over the next two years, hence the popularity of fixed deals.

Miliband bizarrely claimed

“This morning we learned that the energy company SSE will be freezing its energy prices for 20 months. Would we be right to assume that the prime minister believes this price freeze is unworkable, impossible to implement and probably a communist plot?”

Many people criticize PM David Cameron for being out of touch with the people but one can only assume Ed Miliband has absolutely no awareness of pricing and products in the domestic energy market or the very real concerns of the public.

The SSE deal only applies to standard tariff customers or those who move to the deal. Whilst this is in no way limited in terms of numbers it is a significantly different approach from the centralized, mandated pricing call from the Labour leadership.

Indeed in the rush to claim credit where its absolutely not due, not only has Miliband again shown up his naivety in dealing with very real issues but he has missed a much more significant, potentially long term solution to the troubles of the energy market.

In tandem with their latest fixed price announcement, SSE outlined its plans for the legal separation of its Retail and Wholesale businesses by March 2015, so as to improve transparency and “as a further signal of its appetite for reform that is in the clear interests of customers. This legal separation will enhance the transparency of how SSE measures and reports the performance of these businesses.”

The energy market does not need such uncomfortable posturing but real change. In his haste to underpin justification for his previous errors, Miliband has completely missed the real development in the market. Shame.


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