Britain's energy monopolies are enjoying a profit bonanza as their rivals disappear and Ofgem fixes prices on their behalf.
BP boss Bernard Looney has a message for all those out there who are facing soaring energy bills and struggling to make ends meet.
"When the market is strong, when oil prices are strong and when gas prices are strong, this is literally a cash machine"
BP boss Bernard Looney
As a result of supply disruptions in the global gas and oil markets, the situation has been getting steadily more favourable for the energy monopolies as their small-fry competitors have gone to the wall and they have been able to resuscitate their former price-fixing cartel.
Handily, the price fixing is now done via the regulator Ofgem, whose 'price cap' is to rise by 50 percent in the spring – in response to rising wholesale prices, we are told. Customers of failed providers are being transferred back into the warm embrace of the good old 'big six', and plonked unceremoniously back onto the highest allowed (and soon to rise further) tariff.
And yet despite all this public handwringing over the cost of wholesale gas, BP (not a supplier to Britain's homes but a major supplier of fuel to its drivers) made profits for last October, November and December of a staggering $3.3 billion, up from only (!) $86m in the same period in the previous year.
Here endeth the lesson...
Laurence Williams - London &SE Co-Ordinator Designate
*Addendum. While the party is supportive of free markets, it does not support monopoly suppliers. An urgent review is needed into our energy usage and supply. We are an island built on coal, investment is needed to clean up its use, green arguments against the Severn Barrage need to be overruled to supply tidal power, above all stem the colossal waste of energy.
This party supports the use of small scale Rolls Royce nuclear generation. It does not, however, support the use of Ofgem to support large corporations as Laurence explained above.