Thursday, 16 October 2008

Energy utilities

Perhaps when it comes down to it, it is me and I have missed all the news in relation to oil, energy, gas and electricity. Maybe my half asleep id has missed the huge onrush of ceo's from energy companies parading themselves before the nations press, spouting their concern for the hard-pressed consumer by cutting gas prices by 35-50% and electricity prices by 19-24% . And with immediate effect. I must have overlooked their concerned visages earnestly peering whilst their mouths trot through the latest prepared speech, that it's about either helping or investing; forgetting there are many out there living on a day by day basis, who find themselves having to choose between lighting, heating, or eating.

You can just imagine their voices crescendoing on, “with oil now more than half it's $146 value a year ago peak,” yes it even touched $68.57 for US light crude before closing slightly up. “We feel the time is right that our consumers are given a break and we're glad to announce a 5% cut in gas and 2% cut in electricity prices,” and just as people decide on how to react to such a statement, it's finished by, “which will take place on January 5th 2009.”

Has anyone heard or seen anything like that? Or is the deafening rush of silence, from the absent, off the field utility companies, the only answer needed?

We would like to believe that a brand new bunch of fat cat ceo's will be walking that gold plank of parting, but I somehow feel the public mob mentality for such a public drubbing has, with simmering largesse, snuffed itself out.


What we do have however, is ed miliband announcing that the government will increase their carbon reductions targets from 50% to 80% by 2050 - 42 years time.

If a day's a long time in politics, then 42 years must equate to the universal equivalent of four big bangs. A very long period of time where even the ideology of those holding the power stick will probably have been radically changed by unforeseen events and circumstances.

If they attempt to reach targets by slow-creep taxation, it will be those on the bottom and in the middle who will take the greatest hit – especially since two big polluting sectors (aviation and maritime), look like been strangely absent from the proceedings.

Alternatively the government could consider bringing in effective legislation ensuring that new builds or repairs to existing builds that require planning applications, incorporate some element of renewable's or energy efficiency within there design. Imagine, a whole new manufacturing sector could be opened up, then sold off before the next popping bubble. Not only for the manufacturing of wafer thin etaic cells, but new inspectors – just like the tax collectors of old – will incorporate the curbing of excessive emissions, clamping down with powers to immediately close a business down, to giving certificates to those households and businesses who effectively meet the required standards.

So government might bring its full weight down to bear on the energy companies, under the possibility of talks about legislation “if they don't play ball!” What the bloody heck does that mean? They need to remove their noses from the utilities brown stuff and work to ensure that those unfortunates stuck on prepayment meters don't pay an extra £200 above normal rates. When you consider that prepayment users are actually crediting companies for their usage as opposed to those on monthly or quarterly plans who pay in arrears, then no wonder they find the pp'ers a useful set of cows to milk and not to do anything to truly upset the cart.

A while ago marie-antoinette was made infamous for saying “let them eat cake!” This current government will be famous for so many things, but one of the worst will be their seeming attitude of, more money for heating? Don't they know its global warming out there?

The unfolding saga will probably come to nought but a grubby watery end.  As in 38 years time panic will be the order of the day, with the government attempting to ram-raid the law into enactment – to reach the target, or quietly bury it under the table.  Let's just hope that in 42 years time that table isn't floating off, somewhere down the thames!

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