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Local MP Angela Smith has today written to the Prime Minister after one of her constituents contacted her to tell her that British Gas has just increased his monthly payments by almost £100 per month to £180, a 118% rise.

To make matters worse, the constituent is also approximately £100 in credit on his account.

British Gas told Angela’s constituent that the reason for the massive increase is to make sure his account is kept in credit over the coming winter. The increase is made despite Mr Hara being a light user of gas and despite the fact that British Gas was more than happy to keep banking his excess payments during the summer, keeping the amount on deposit.

Commenting on what seems to be a clear case of profiteering by British Gas, Angela Smith, said, “A monthly rise of this sort is just unacceptable. How can British Gas justify increasing monthly payments by over 100% when actual charges have gone up much less?

“Monthly increases of this sort are going to push more and more people into fuel poverty over the coming months. A 100% monthly bill increase is just unaffordable to most people, but this is especially true for pensioners or others on fixed incomes.”

“I have today written to the Prime Minister, asking he look into the practice of energy companies bumping up monthly payments by much more than the price increase. After all this money sits in the energy companies bank accounts earning interest, interest they do not even pass on to the consumer.”

This latest scandal comes on top of the recent fall by half of oil prices to under $60 per barrel. Yet so far the energy companies seem unwilling to drop their prices, even though their costs are now reducing massively.

Angela is also asking the Prime Minister to look into why these companies are not passing on these reductions and for him to intervene with the regulators to ask them to make sure consumers now feel the full effects of the recent drops in the oil price.

Issued : 21 October 2008

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