Energy row over minister’s price rise attack on industry

Tim Wallace
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ENERGY firms will today be told not to treat customers as “cash cows” or to make profits “at the expense of the elderly and vulnerable,” by minister Ed Davey.

He will tell the sector it faces its “Fred the Shred” moment – a reference to disgraced former RBS boss Fred Goodwin.

It comes after a series of above-inflation price hikes from the big players in the sector.

“Trust between those who supply energy and those who use it is breaking down,” he will say. “It is so difficult for people to work out what exactly they are paying for that they fear the big companies are taking them for a ride when bills go up.”

Davey will be speaking at the Energy UK annual conference, and the industry body hit back.

“The energy industry is already working hard to ensure everyone can keep the lights on and stay warm this winter,” Energy UK said. “The best way to do this is for everyone to work together which is why this tit for tat Punch and Judy show of insults is so unproductive.”

It added that the sector is a major employer and significant taxpayer, and that government policies are a key factor behind rising prices.