OH is not the author of this post. That accolade belongs to Jess the Dog
Now we have it –in black and white - evidence of the contempt with which energy companies view their customers. Asked what the worst case scenario would be with regard to spiralling energy prices, Mark Owen-Lloyd, head of power trading, replied “at worst, we’ll make more money”. My account with E-On will be cancelled in the next 24 hours.
Government initiatives to resolve the utility bills crisis are simply pathetic. This is in many ways a blessing, as any windfall tax would simply shift the burden on to middle-class consumers, benefiting both those in need and the elderly, but also the feckless NEET classes who never pay for anything. In any case, ministers and MPs are insulated from the worst effects of the credit crunch and can fall back on their overflowing trough of allowances. Rising utility bills are yet another burden on what I would call the “productive classes” – those in employment, who own homes and who are raising children – who are crippled by mortgage interest rates, fuel prices, food inflation, spiralling costs of travelling to work, and council tax rises (not in Scotland though).
Most of the iniquities we face have been borne with a mixture of stoicism and equanimity – perhaps in the knowledge that we won’t be saddled with this rotten UK government much longer - but the sheer contempt of those who are squeezing every last penny out of out pockets cannot be borne any longer. It is time to fight back against the E-Ons of this country. Unions can go on strike and will be walking out in search of higher pay – which will impact on taxpayers. Why don’t we follow their example and stage a cash strike?
Every business is dependant on monthly cash flow for profitability. If the cash flow dries up, an organisation has to fall back on reserves or borrowing to pay for commodities, salaries and overheads. This has a major impact on profitability. This should be the target of our fightback. Take the gas sector as an example. There are 20million customers and the average bill is £510 per annum, £127 per quarter or £42 per month. If customers staged a single month payment strike, then this would reduce cash flow by £840m. Even if only 10% of customers participated, then this would have an £84m impact. That cannot be ignored, either by a company or by government.
Moreover, we can strike with impunity. There is no way that any organisation could chase 2million defaulters. Outstanding poll tax arrears in Scotland account for over £400m and those defaulters numbered in the thousands. The government could not ignore this demonstration of power – rather than lukewarm initiatives on insulation, they could be forced into action. For energy bills, we want price cuts, not a windfall tax, which would only benefit the Treasury. The final point is this: we would not be refusing to pay, we would simply be delaying payment – a practice often used by large companies when dealing with small suppliers, in order to maximise profit. This is to send a message that the continued squeeze is unacceptable, rather than to avoid payment.
The message is clear. It is time to fight back. We are being screwed over, and laughed at as well. Enough is enough – join the fightback. Cancel your E-On account today and pledge to join the payment strike later this year.