Two Renfrewshire politicians have attacked the UK Government after news of record breaking profits by energy companies as forecasts that winter energy bills for households across the nation are set to remain at high.
Natalie Don, MSP for Renfrewshire North & West said that families are struggling with sky high bills and said the UK Government refuse to act. She described it as “a national disgrace”.
MP Gavin Newlands claimed the “UK energy market is completely broken” and that “customers are being ripped off by suppliers because the Government allows them to.”
Shell announced second-quarter profits of $5.6 billion, whilst Britain’s biggest household energy supplier, British Gas’s profits rose to £969m, for the first half of the year, after price cap rises allowed it to make more money from household bills.
Spanish owned Scottish Power went from a loss of £86m last year to profits of £576m in its retail division.
The French state-owned EDF reported that its UK business made profits of almost €2.3bn (£2bn) for the first half of the year, which includes earnings from its nuclear power plants – up from €860m in the same months last year. EDF confirmed this was driven by the price cap.
These figures coincide with forecasts that winter energy bills for households are set to remain at historically high levels, with estimates from Cornwall Insights that consumers are still facing a 90% hike in their bills this winter compared to 2021.
The UK government has removed both the Energy Price Guarantee and the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme on 30th June and have given no commitment to support households with their energy bills this coming winter.
Regulator Ofgem said the bumper results were a “one-off” due to the changes.
Don said: “This is nothing short of a national disgrace, families are struggling with sky high bills yet energy companies continue to rake in record profits and all the while the Tory UK Government refuse to act.
“While other Governments act to protect their citizens, the UK government is allowing energy companies to make obscene profits on the back of suffering households who are facing historically high prices on their energy bills.
“As usual energy companies are quick to raise prices when the wholesale energy price rises but are slow to reduce prices when the wholesale energy price falls. The UK energy market is broken and this winter bills will stay at around 90% higher compared to 2021 prices.
“The UK government has already withdrawn the limited support it gave to households and businesses and continue to ignore the obscene profits generated by energy companies.
“The UK government is more interested in protecting obscene profits of the energy companies than helping struggling households.
“It is a disgrace that an energy rich nation like Scotland sees its resources exploited for the greed of energy companies while families struggle to pay their energy bills.
“The Scottish Government has limited powers over energy but has trebled the Fuel Insecurity fund to £30million to help the most vulnerable but the limitation of devolution stops us from going further.
“It’s clear that the UK Tory government and the Brexit-supporting Labour party will do nothing to protect struggling households and that only Independence offers the people of Scotland the opportunity to build a fairer economy which protects struggling households.”
Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said: “Energy companies are raking it in with British Gas’ profits for just the first half of the year declared as £969 million, while Shell announced half yearly profits of $5.6 billion.
“EDF – owned by the French government – made £2 billion from its UK operation, at the same time as its owners ordered it to cap prices for French households.
“At the same time households are still faced with sky-high bills and as we move towards autumn winter there’s no sign the UK Government are preparing to act.
“The UK energy market is completely broken. Customers are being ripped off by suppliers because the Government allows them to, with regulation at a minimum and prices tied to gas supplies, a ludicrous situation when more and more of our electricity comes from renewable sources.
“We need independence to harness the full potential of our energy network and ensure that the free market is tamed to ensure customers get a fair deal across the board.”