The Shadow Welsh Secretary says energy bills in Wales will still rise despite UK Government action to bring them down. During Wales Questions in the Commons, Owen Smith described as 'a con-trick' a cut of £50 a year announced by SSE which owens SWALEC.
He said that reduction wouldn't offset previously announced increases which would mean that Welsh families would still pay higher bills. He added later that,
It is a con-trick for SSE to claim, as their press release this morning does, that the company is cutting its prices. The small reduction being offered only slightly offsets the 8.2% price hike that a million SWALEC customers were hit with in November. The reality is that even after the Government’s changes to green levies, the average household will still be paying £70 more for their energy than last winter.
Wales has the highest gas and electricity bills of anywhere in the UK, yet our biggest energy provider made £350 million profit last year, allowing it to give inflation-busting pay-outs to shareholders and pay its Chief Executive £755,000, while customers struggle to make ends meet.
It can only do this because it operates in a broken market and the only long-term solution is to reform the market so that customers are no longer ripped off. But we also need a short-term answer to sky-high prices which is why Labour would freeze prices for 20 months while we bring in these reforms.
– Owen Smith MP, Shadow Welsh Secretary
Wales Office Minister Stephen Crabb rejected the accusation and described Labour's price freeze as a proposal which 'has no credibility.'
What we are doing is real practical action that helps families at difficult times and the picture we are seeing in Wales overall is positive.
Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith has sharply criticised the decision by SSE to increase energy prices.
Families in Wales are being particularly hard hit by this increase.
Wales – where there are more than one million SSE customers - already suffers from the highest energy bills and lowest levels of disposable income of anywhere in Britain.
This is nothing more than an act of gross profiteering. People in Wales are clearly being ripped off by this energy company and it needs to stop.
People are already suffering under David Cameron's cost of living crisis and now, thanks to his failure to stand up to the big energy companies, consumers will be hit by ever high bills, with SSE increasing prices by nearly 10%. This is a sign that David Cameron only stands up for the privileged few.
If ever there was proof that Ed Miliband was right and we need a freeze on energy prices, this is it.