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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 February 2022

Gas and electric bills set to soar by 50% this year

Nationalise the energy sector now

The energy crisis is not simply a one-ff 'perfect storm', but is inherent in the profit-driven market economy

The energy crisis is not simply a one-ff 'perfect storm', but is inherent in the profit-driven market economy   (Click to enlarge)

Jaime Davies, Caerphilly Socialist Party

While millions will have to choose between heating or eating, the big energy companies are laughing all the way to the bank. BP and Shell are making £900 a second in profit!

Every six months, the energy regulator Ofgem reviews what the maximum amount should be that providers can charge domestic customers for energy bills. When last reviewed in October, around 15 million households in the UK saw energy bills rise by 12% to their highest ever level, as the cap was increased to a staggering £1,277 per year.

This month Ofgem is set to review the cap on prices again, and in all likelihood the cap will be further increased with energy bills going up from April. A 'sharp increase' is unfortunately not an exaggeration in terms, with the industry predicting a 50% increase in bills this year, an average annual cost of £2,000 per household.

Providers such as British Gas, Scottish Power, EDF and SSE to name some of the bigger companies, are trying to justify the price hikes, citing the rise in raw energy costs since last summer as their reason. But they are still paying bonuses and pay rises for the bosses and big shareholders. For example, the CEO of Centrica, Chris O'Shea, has a salary of over £750,000 a year that he can put towards keeping his home boiler firing.

While workers in the sector face redundancy, 9.4 million elderly people worry about affording to keep warm; companies like Shell are not making millions but billions out of the energy crisis. Shell is forecast to have made £13.5 billion in 2021. BP boss Bernard Looney is even on record saying that the company is like 'a cash machine'.

The best solution to the energy crisis is to nationalise the companies involved and bring them under democratic workers' control. By doing so we could immediately use the massive profits held in the sector to improve services and bring costs down, as well as give all workers a decent pay rise and take on those who have already been made redundant.

Rather than decisions about energy needs being made behind the closed doors of boardrooms, a nationalised sector could be run by the workers themselves, the trade unions and the wider working class. Prices could also be kept down, not having to fund enormous pay-outs and bonuses for private owners and interests.

And with a nationalised energy sector, priority could be given to investing in researching renewable alternatives to domestic gas heating. This is a seemingly utopian prospect under private ownership where it is easier and more profitable in the short term to continue with gas while the planet coughs and splutters.

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In The Socialist 2 February 2022:


News

Tories attack UC recipients with 'get any job' threat

NHS mandatory vaccination to be ditched

NI rise piled onto shoulders of the lowest paid

Gas and electric bills set to soar by 50% this year

Covering basic costs is hard, and it's getting worse


International news

Ukraine: Workers' unity needed

Northern Ireland: Bloody Sunday 50 years on

School students strike in Austria

Coup d'état in Burkina Faso

France: Education workers and students walkout


TUSC

Tories Out!

Dave Nellist standing for Birmingham Erdington

Why a socialist candidate for Birmingham Erdington is vital

Hackney Unison to encourage anti-cuts candidates

Essex cuts racket must end

Portsmouth: Council workers leaving and tenants' double whammy

TUSC by-elections round-up


Workers fighting back

The winter strike wave escalates as workers fight back and win

NHS workers begin strike for 15% and against outsourcing

Victory at NewVIc college! 'The picket line gives us power'

Coventry bins: all-out against strike-breaking Labour council

Scunny scaffs strike restarts with a bang, barricades and a win!

PCS 2022 elections

Workplace news in brief


Campaigns news

Tories sinking, workers rising - help fund the socialist fightback

May Day Greetings: Back the paper that backs the working class

Why I joined: I'm tired of austerity and status quo

Socialist Students getting organised for 2 March walkout


Review

Belfast: Worth watching portrayal of previously airbrushed workers' unity


 

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Related links:

Energy:

triangleCatastrophic energy bill hike - a crisis made by capitalism

triangleCut our fuel bills - nationalise energy

triangleCost of living crisis

triangleNews in brief

triangleNews in brief

Gas:

triangleCOP26 News in brief

triangleCaerphilly and RCT Socialist Party: Nationalise gas and energy

triangleCapitalist climate hypocrisy

triangleCWI livestream rally report

Nationalise:

triangleSocial care providers put profit before residents' needs - nationalise care now

triangleTories hand cash to private health profiteers

triangleEnergy price crisis: nationalise energy giants to save us from £600 hit

Labour:

triangleThe Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party

triangleBrighton Green and Labour cuts - workers and communities fight back

Workers:

triangleFor workers' unity against war in Ukraine

Socialist:

triangleCarlisle Socialist Party: What now for Ukraine and Russia?

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