Gas price increases fuel unrest

Posted in Utilities on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 at 11:18 by Martyn Shaw.

According to Greenpeace, the average energy bill increased by about £150 during the past year.  Two-thirds of this increase can be attributed to higher gas prices.  Now, some consumers are making their displeasure known.  Several dozen protestors converged on the road to the Berkshire headquarters of Centrica and blocked traffic by means of an oversized energy bill that measured more than 250 square feet in all.  A parallel protest attempted to close down the HQ offices themselves using energy bills pasted onto wood, which was used to barricade office doors.

The protestors were expressing outrage at Centrica’s use of imported gas sources, which tend to be more expensive than domestic sources.  Lawrence Carter, speaking for the Greenpeace environmental group, focused on the need for Centrica to begin relying more on renewable sources of energy: “Centrica have got to get off gas .  .  .  If Centrica instead invested in clean, cutting-edge renewable energy and energy efficiency, they would help to bring both household bills under control and to tackle climate change.”

Indeed, UK Prime Minister David Cameron just last week recommended renewable energy, referring to it as “vital” for the future of the nation.

A Centrica spokesperson responded to the protests but had little to say about renewable energy, instead focusing on the measures that British Gas has taken to help customers deal with higher bills.  These measures included offers of free insulation and a reduction in the cost of electricity to offset the higher prices being charged for gas.

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