For the second time this year I am switching energy supplier. I have lost all shame about being promiscuous. There was a time when being ‘loyal’ had a grip, largely I suppose because your supplier had your name and address – unlike swapping toothpaste for example, where you can do it anonymously. But even then, it took me about 40 years to realise that the toothpaste of my youth wasn’t the only one on the market. What’s prompted this latest switch is yet another absurd price rise – we’re talking of hundreds of pounds – and the email announcement which came with it, merely referring to a ‘price change,’ a rather coy reference to a whopping increase. Do these businesses really believe that toning down their language fools customers? I was always amused each year when my local buses had signs saying ‘fare changes in operation.’ Increases, never decreases.
Switching energy suppliers is thankfully a lot easier, and using moneysupermarket.com (yes, an unashamed, unpaid plug) helps it all along. But questions arise. I have used 100% renewable energy suppliers for nearly 20 years, and I have always resented the fact that despite paying a premium (from the days when it was just a fad for some middle class types) to today when the price of renewable generation is falling dramatically, there is no reflection of that in market. The market for electricity is hugely complex, and I suspect it is in the interests of suppliers (including network operators) to keep it complex. The price you pay for renewable energy is still related to what’s going on in the wholesale fossil fuel markets.
I hope any discussion of renationalising our energy supply will begin to take this into account. There needs to be a greater premium placed on buying fossil fueled energy, and reduced prices for renewables. To a certain extent I am willing to accept that fossil fuels are facing a stiffer challenge, but they are still given financial and other incentives which renewables aren’t. Fracking is a case in point, and of course the galactic subsidies nuclear gets are too great for most of us to comprehend. I am not confusing nuclear with fossil fuels – I am merely considering disparities in government funding and legislative support, which cramp renewable energy’s true potential.
And then there’s the IPCC’s latest report . . I’m still waiting to hear what Theresa May has to say about that.