“It beggars belief that SWALEC can proudly announce a huge rise in profits when average bills are going up £70 this winter”

Owen Smith MP, Pontypridd MP and Shadow Welsh Secretary, commenting on reports that SSE is expected to announce an increase in profits of 8.8% to £1.5 billion, said:

“Just two months ago SWALEC put up bills by 8.2% for its one million customers in Wales. Now we know where that extra money from hard-pressed families is going – straight into the pockets of shareholders who are getting another bumper payout.

“It beggars belief that SWALEC can proudly announce a huge rise in profits when average bills are going up £70 this winter. This is from a company that pays its Chief Executive £755,000 a year, at a time when record numbers of families are falling behind with their energy bills.

“We need a Government that is prepared to stand up to the energy companies and reform this failing market. David Cameron will never do this, which is why we need a Labour Government to break up the big energy companies, put an end to their secret deals and make tariffs fairer. And while we make these reforms we will freeze energy bills for 20 months so that customers no longer face these unfair price rises.”

Ends

Notes to Editors:

1. SSE have released a trading update announcing profit levels and dividend to shareholders:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/01/23/sse-energy-profit-_n_4649725.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

2. SSE raised bills by 8.2%, which came into effect in November 2013 – http://www.sse.com/PressReleases/2013/OctoberPriceChange/

3. Even prior to the latest increase, South Wales has the highest average combined gas and electricity bills in Britain at £1,310. At £1,298, Merseyside and North Wales has the third highest. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm131023/text/131023w0002.htm#131023w0002.htm_spnew20

4. Figures released in November by energy regulator Ofgem show the number of energy accounts where debt is being repaid in Wales has increased by 24% over the last two years, the biggest increase of anywhere in Britain. There are now nearly 85,000 accounts where a Welsh customer has fallen behind on payments, up from 68,000 just two years ago.
Ofgem, “Domestic suppliers’ Social Obligations: 2012 annual report”, Nov 13th 2013
https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem-publications/84390/domesticsupplierssocialobligations2012annualreport.pdf

Table 2 of Page 12 shows a 24% increase in the number of energy accounts in Wales in arrears (gas and electricity combined).



Owen Smith MP Welsh Labour MP for Pontypridd
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