Ambrose Bierce defines Responsibility as ‘A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one’s neighbour.’

I try to keep out of the detail of current politics but I’ve got a problem I’d like sorting out please. I know there are people out there far wiser than me and I’m sure you can put me right.

Firstly, yesterday when the energy companies were being questioned, it was decided that 5% was a disgraceful profit margin, greedy, disgusting.
Which I suppose is fair enough. But if you go on the Tesco website, Tesco’s own annual review shows that in the years 2009 to 2012 the company had a margin which averaged 6.17%. When are the MPs going to haul them in and demand windfall taxes, price freezes etc? Is energy more important than food?

Also energy costs. I checked. A lot of these Green levies go back to July 2009 when Ed Miliband released ‘The Renewable Energy Strategy’. At the time he commented “We are going to minimise the costs as much as possible, but it is true there is not a low-cost energy future out there.” This document estimated that this renewables policy could cost households as much as £250 per year. But checking on Google you can see that at the time energy experts estimated bills could rise by up to £500 every year. Mr Miliband insisted there would be no cost before 2015.

Given that all this was carried out in public in 2009 and we were (probably) all there and all sort of listening, why are we surprised now?

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9 thoughts on “Responsibility?

  1. willmacmillanjones October 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm Reply

    I suspect the issue is this: The energy companies are arguing that the rise is being forced upon them by a) Green taxes, which haven’t actually been increased, and b) increases in wholesale prices. The second argument being countered by an independent energy company boss who points out that his wholesale prices are now lower than they were in 2009. I would also be interested to see if the 5% profit quoted is before dividends to offshore owners, or after

    • jwebster2 October 30, 2013 at 1:39 pm Reply

      I’d love to know how much of the dividends are paid to insurance companies and pension funds who tend to be big investors.
      As it is the energy levies are regressive taxation, they take a larger proportion from the poor than the wealthy. If a lot of money is going to the pensions and insurance companies we’ve managed to get a system where nice middle class people are padding their pensions etc out of the pockets of the poor. And Miliband helped set this system up!

  2. M T McGuire November 2, 2013 at 9:37 pm Reply

    I dunno. Speaking as a nice middle class person, investing in a pension is practically worthless. I think the energy issue may be that it goes up but never down.

    Personally I’d be interested to see whether, if the government paid to have photovoltaic cells put on every south facing roof we mightn’t find the energy crisis, for electrical power at any rate, easing slightly.

    It would cost but it would always be there. We wouldn’t be relying in the whims of the whimsical dictators of other nations, for example.

    Cracking might be cheaper but it’ll run out. Solar panels on every house will always b there, producing power. One huge power station, no row over planning permission, ugliness or danger issues. Just a whole load of daytime power.

    Or am I mad?



    • jwebster2 November 2, 2013 at 10:22 pm Reply

      The amount of money that has been wasted on Solar is vast. Not because it doesn’t work, but because it’s grossly over subsidised. I went to a meeting which was to convince landowners to invest. It was held when government had decided to cut the subsidy and there was a court case pending. The official company line was “At the moment you’ll get x% return on your money. If the subsidy drops, the panels are coming through cheaper so even with less subsidy you’ll still get x% return.
      All that subsidy is just going into the coffers of the companies setting up the schemes and making the panels etc. We could probably get the same effect for a quarter of the government investment

      • M T McGuire November 3, 2013 at 9:30 am

        I agree solar is currently a mess. However there are cheaper, more efficient tiles coming in. My main beef is that it is installed by crooks who make photocopier and double glazing salesmen look like fine upstanding citizens. I wouldn’t know where to start to find someone who wasn’t a rip off merchant to install it. That said, it’s a source of power that’s always there , everyone’s houses are there already, would it cost much less than building a new power station to slap panels on everyone’s houses?

        I’m not talking about ‘encouraging’ us to employ cowboys to do it I mean they do it and let us keep some of the power free as a thank you for letting them use our roves. It will take the pressure off the grid.

      • jwebster2 November 3, 2013 at 9:37 am

        My complaint wasn’t the installers, I’ve no experience of them, it was the companies that are putting together the deals. Same with wind turbines, all these deals seem to be done by companies that haven’t been in existence very long. By the time the first serious maintenance needs doing I’m willing to bet these companies will have quietly folded and the house owner will be left with the bill for a new gearbox for a wind turbine or the overhaul of the panels.

      • M T McGuire November 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm

        Indeed, my parents bought a rain harvester; basically, a big tank of rainwater that pumps into the loos and the like. It went through about five pumps in two years (under guarantee) then the company folded. Mum and Dad just quietly paid someone to take it away.

      • jwebster2 November 3, 2013 at 3:46 pm

        Big water tanks are useful, I’m sure I could have found them someone who’d take it away for free 🙂
        Mind you I can see both why they were so keen to be rid of it, and also why the company folded.
        I think this is going to happen a lot with the solar panel and turbine companies to be honest

  3. M T McGuire November 2, 2013 at 9:38 pm Reply

    Oh for fuck’s sake! Sodding iPad. Fracking. I meant fracking.

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