Tone deaf to the needs of real people?
1st Feb 2021
Last week I witnessed a senior executive from an energy supplier call for gas prices to be increased, artificially higher than now, to force consumers into switching to electricity. Now if I’m kind, I’d say such comments (and they are not the first I’ve heard of late) are at best tone deaf to the situation households find themselves in, at worst, I’d say these comments are malicious – delivered without any regard to the consequences.
We are in a global pandemic, millions are working from home and not offices; the economic shock is yet to unfold fully, but unemployment is set to rise sharply and a double-dip recession is likely. So demanding it becomes more expensive to heat your home is frankly obscene. To do so without regard to the consequences because you want to “disrupt” the system is contemptible. If the energy industry has a bad name in the public eye, it is precisely because of comments like this.
A quick recap. In England, one in every nine households (2.4 million) lives in fuel poverty. A further 500,000 live within £30 of going into fuel poverty. Cold homes cost lives and are implicated in a range of public health concerns. You can’t play at being Devil’s Advocate when the consequences of your actions are so dire.
But this comment wasn’t an isolated one. Over the past few months, with hydrogen gas gaining interest across the globe, the anti-gas lobby have been making similar calls. There is a naivety about them. It’s like someone has had their first economics lesson in demand and supply and they now feel it equips them to devise government policy on decarbonisation. To state, in a public forum, that you just make gas more expensive and the rest is solved, is an insult to those in the energy industry who work so diligently delivering secure supplies as affordably as possible and those working to devise ways of extracting savings from how energy is used.
Our many consumers deserve so much better than the thinking behind the tone deaf comments of the few.
Mike Foster, CEO
EUA's Chief Executive
22nd Feb 2021
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