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Energy Blame Game

blame pointing fingers energy industryThe Blame Game – When will the Madness Stop?

The energy industry is full of talk and if you’re the regulator Ofgem, very little action. But the blame game Ofgem are very good at, whether it’s TPIs or energy suppliers, Ofgem have their favoured targets and boy do they let us all know.

But for every peach of a quote from Ofgem there are others who are equally guilty of unthinking blame apportionment.

We pick out our top three of the last month and add an alternate translation for each.

Firstly, Ann Robinson, of

“Now is absolutely the time when electricity companies should be reducing their prices. If they don’t, it’s the clearest possible sign yet that the energy market is broken.

“There is no way that the energy companies are going to regain trust if customers can see this increase in margins.”

uSwitch, who’s healthy profit margins are entirely driven by their close and mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers, earning up to £40 per switch per fuel per customer, criticise the suppliers for having made £53 profit per customer per year in 2013.

Trust is a big word. Be careful how you use it.

Secondly, Peter Lilley, Conservative MP and Energy Select Committee member:

“Companies can do so [avoid reducing prices] perhaps until the election, when otherwise prices would have come down. It is not so much irresponsible as a boomerang which has come back to hit Ed Miliband. It [Miliband’s price freeze pledge] has backfired”

According to Lilley, Red Ed’s false and undeliverable promise of freezing energy prices if he gets elected in 2015 has led energy suppliers to battening down the hatches and keeping their ill-gotten gains from a collapse in the wholesale market price over the last 12 months as a war chest come the re-nationalisation era.

The fact that the wholesale market is set lower, but just as unpredictable as ever, that the commercial policies of supplier hedging differ greatly and insulate them from market movements (in whatever direction) and so such ‘benefits’ are smoothed out far more than the raw market data suggests pales against the opportunity to strike a party political dig for Lilley. Helpful.

And finally John Robertson, Labour MP and fellow Energy Select Committee member:

“Energy companies seem to be a law unto themselves. [They] are going to hide behind a general election and political point scoring is going to be the order of the day.

“This is something that Ofgem and the government should be looking at, but they seem to be absolutely inept. The rest of us are paying through the nose for it and a lot of people can’t afford to.”

This delightful piece of hyperbole, playing to the gallery about the pantomime villain the energy suppliers have become comes from an elected member of parliament sitting on the cross party energy committee apparently completely unaware that the Competition and Markets Authority probe into the energy market has not only been announced but is actually ongoing. Blinding.

Not since our favourite quote of 2014 so far have we heard such unhelpful nonsense.

Our 2014 favourite? This pearl of wisdom from uSwitch once again:

“I want Ofgem to just get on and do it and not spend loads of time talking about it”

The subject to which this response was offered? The calling of the CMA probe into the energy market. With expert insight like that how ever can anyone say the energy market is on it’s knees?

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