Tom Peterkin thinks the Big Six energy firms took “a battering” from the House of Commons energy and climate change committee (Perspective, 1 November). In fact, only three of the Six attended (plus one outsider) as there wasn’t room for all of them on that day. We have yet to see representatives of British Gas, EDF and ScottishPower.
My impression was that the three main representatives withstood questions stoutly, even when the questions were irrelevant or prejudicial. It was stupid to ask how they could justify their huge profits when customers could not afford to heat their homes. Profits are relative: without them, companies cannot stay in business.
It was also pointed out that they needed to make money to invest in the power infrastructure. It was also silly to ask if they understood that the public does not trust them. They already know that, but it’s not clear what they could do about it.
Generating electricity and distributing both it and gas takes money. When the cost of this rises that has to be passed on or the future of the industry is in jeopardy. Do we want any of the Big Six to fail, threatening the security of our power supply?
It was clear that some members of the committee do not understand how commercial industry operates and were not listening to the detailed explanations they were given. All the witnesses agreed that the green levy should be transferred to general taxation and that doing so would reduce customers’ bills. However, I saw no appreciation of that by the committee.