Community Energy Plus Chief Executive Tim Jones comments on today’s price rise announcement from SSE (Thursday 10th October).
Households buying their electricity and gas from SSE will face average bills of around £1,224 over the next year, after the major energy supplier announced that they are putting their prices up by 8.2%.
SSE, formerly Scottish and Southern Energy, have become the first of the large energy suppliers of the autumn to reveal their annual price increases, which they are attributing to the higher costs of buying wholesale energy, the rising cost of using electricity and gas networks and levies for funding government schemes such as energy efficiency programmes and support for low carbon energy.
The price rise of an average of £2 a week will come into effect on 15th November, although the company have promised their customers that the earliest that their prices will rise again will be next autumn.
Commenting on the significance of the price rises for householders in Cornwall, Tim Jones, Chief Executive of Community Energy Plus, said: “SSE’s announcement today will, without a doubt, be followed by the other major suppliers. This will be a major worry to people already on tight budgets and in particular the one in five local households that are living in fuel poverty.
“As a local energy charity we’re expecting to see an increase in calls from householders worried about their energy bills and keeping warm this winter. While there’s no getting away from the fact that we all face a future of higher energy bills, there are steps that householders can take to save money. Insulation is the most effective and long-term solution to reducing the amount of energy that we use. We’re currently finalising plans to offer Cornish households access to free and discounted insulation for solid wall properties which will make a massive difference to hundreds of families currently living in cold and inefficient homes.
“Shopping around to get the best prices is another great way to save money. Two years ago we set up a community oil buying club and are saving our members an average of £65 a year; we’ve got a growing membership of over 2,000 which demonstrates the appetite for householders to save money on their energy bills wherever they can. For those who can access dual fuel tariffs it is definitely worth looking at comparison websites and considering switching. For many a fixed price tariff will provide some certainty in planning on restricted incomes.”
“The current structure of charging for fuel means we all pay a lot for the initial amount we use, and it becomes cheaper if you use a lot. This needs to change to put more cost on the higher energy consumers and encourage us all to use energy more efficiently.
“In the long term we need to see a change of government policy to deliver a fairer deal and warmer homes for everyone. The current way that householders pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes through their energy bills is contributing to rising energy price rises and pushing more people into fuel poverty. If the Government channelled the revenue it receives from carbon taxes back to households, it could provide billions of pounds to make our homes super-energy efficient – driving down our energy bills forever.”
Community Energy Plus supports the Energy Bill Revolution which is a public alliance, made up of organisations which are united by our commitment to ensuring warm homes and lower bills for all. An online petition is available at www.energybillrevolution.org