What to do about energy prices? Whilst the headline oil price has fallen and hence the wholesale price of natural gas has plunged, energy prices in general have not. The price of gas and electricity is still very high. Wages have hardly risen and whilst the price of food has fallen back many people are finding life very tough.
There are two solutions to high energy prices for those on low incomes which we covered in our book. The first is the so called carbon ration or tradeable energy quota. Whilst we thought this the best and fairest solution to high energy prices and a very effective way of tackling both peak oil and climate change its not on the political agenda at the moment.
The next solution is for those can afford to to subsidise those who cannot afford energy prices either on a individual or mass basis. I have heard of examples of the former and everyone pays the latter through a government enforced levy on bills. The energy company I am signed up with does this due to the fact everyone pays the same and no one gets a discount for using direct debit, which tends to benefit the richer members of society.
Yesterday I heard that of an energy company that has come up with another solution to high energy prices. That is give pre-paid power cards out with food from food banks. Until recently pre-paid power card meters have been an expensive way for those on low incomes to pay for electricity and gas but costs have regularised with those of other customers who do not pay up front. Of course the energy company which is one of the big six is not doing this out its own profits, but out of orphan accounts (that is customers they cannot contact who are in credit). A good idea? Yes in the absence of other ideas then anything helps, one problem is not everyone on a low income is on pre-paid meters.