Harlow residents shocked as gas and electricity bills set to soar
News / Sun 27th Feb 2022 am28 10:53am
THE stark reality of the cost of living crisis has hit a number of homes in Harlow this week as thousands have received notification of gas and electricity hikes.
Suppliers have contacted their customers and informed them, based on usage, what the increases will be from April 1st.
One resident told YH that they had received an e mail from their supplier, Utilita.
“My supplier told me that based on our usage, our electricity bill would increase by £32 a month and our gas bill would increase by £26 a month.
“This is a massive increase. Having said that, there are just two if us in a relatively small house.
“How large families are going to cope, I do not know?”
According to the Resolution Foundation, the poorest will see their energy spend rise from 8.5% to 12% of their total household budget – three times the proportion for the richest.
While households across the board will be hit, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimates the situation is worse for particular families. It estimates that low-income single-adult households could be forced to spend 54% of their income on gas and electricity.
It comes as the government prepares to increase national insurance contributions for workers in the same month, leading to calls from some Tories to scrap the tax raid to ease the pressure on living costs. While experts say there are fairer ways to increase taxes than through national insurance, the plan is relatively progressive and they warn that scrapping it would be a badly targeted way of helping the poorest households with their energy bills.
It isn’t just gas and electric. Many have seen petrol prices soar.
UK petrol and diesel prices have hit their highest levels on record in recent months, hitting motorists and adding to business costs, driven by a sharp rise in global oil prices after lockdown. Having plunged from about $60 a barrel in February 2020 to about $20 just two months later in the early stages of the pandemic – and with some prices for US oil dropping below zero – the price of Brent crude has since risen to the highest in seven years at almost $90 a barrel.
YH will be speaking to politicians across the divide to gauge their reaction and see what they can do to help Harlow residents.
The only thing we can do about energy prices is contact your MP and keep on at them all until the message gets through to the government that people cannot cope with the cost of living increases and they need to do something about it.
This is in large part the result of the 1980s and 1990s Conservative government's privatisation of the energy utility companies, Central Electricity Generating Board and the British National Oil Corporation. State owned companies did not have money flowing out the door to shareholders, which in today's disjointed energy industry is owned mainly by French and German companies. Successive British governments have failed to fund tidal power projects that would have delivered substantial renewable energy. The river Severn Tidal Barrage Power project would provide 6% of the current electricity usage of England and Wales – equivalent to 8 large coal-fired power stations. The £20bn plus cost of this tidal barrage was seen as a stumbling block, but in our post-Covid world we saw our Government fritter away £37bn on a test and trace system that delivered little and wasted another £8.7bn on PPE that was unsuitable and for various other reasons. Whilst it is true that wetlands loss mitigation would have cost another £3bn the tidal barrage project was still worthwhile, given it would have an operational lifespan of up to 200 years. Incidentally, the one tidal barrage in existence located in Brittany has been running without mechanical breakdown for 40 years.
Even if the government removed all the taxes on energy the price would still be going up. This is down to market forces and the failure of successive governments to ensure continuity of our ability to produce our own energy. The energy industry warned the government back in the early nineties that major investment was required by 2004 to avoid the situation we are in now. Both our political parties are equally to blame for this, by perusing “green” pipe dreams at the expense of reality. And as usual the poorer suffer the most. Where are people living on the breadline going to find the £2000-£3000 cost of living increases being predicted. This problem will not go away any time soon and I think a lot of people are starting to wake up to the harsh realities of life. At the end of the day it is all our faults as we elect these people.
Not only energy but broadband and phones as well by nearly 10%