Thank you for your email dated 18th November, in which you say:
However, I am suffering from the misapprehension that rather than wholesale gas prices that 'will probably continue to rise', the falls in the oil price mean that they will probably continue to fall. You're the experts, I suppose, and the financial press and the government have clearly read the market wrong.
World oil and gas prices have been reaching record highs – this is an issue facing all energy suppliers. This means the cost of energy has been going up and will probably continue to rise. As a result of this, we had to increase our standard energy prices on 30 July but we delayed increasing your Click Energy 5 prices for as long as possible.
Unfortunately, we had to increase your prices on 30 September 2008. So for a home with average usage, Click Energy 5 gas prices have risen on average by 42%.
Clearly, your tardy and retrospective notification of a back-calculated price increase can have nothing to do with the Government's call last month for you to cut prices, or with the Minister's Written Statement to the Commons yesterday in which he said ‘I have highlighted the public’s concern about the current high level of retail prices and impressed upon the companies the need for retail energy prices to reflect changes in wholesale prices as soon as possible.’
And I'm sure you wouldn't even think of imposing an artificial temporary increase to allow you to claim a large price cut in the future. I'm confident that British Gas leave such transparent mechanisms to sofa retailers and the like.
Thank you also for your reassurance that I'm now paying '5% less for your gas than our standard rates'. That's a great comfort to me. And for your friendly and casual post scriptum;
P.S. We will automatically reassess your Direct Debit payment at the time of your next statement. We will write to let you know before we change your payments. So you don't need to do anything.Again, I am greatly comforted that although my direct debit payments to you will almost double, that I 'don't need to do anything'. Except perhaps earn more money to pay for it.
I am privileged indeed to be the customer of a gas company that has only back-charged me 42% more for gas I have already used at a time when prices are falling, and I am proud to be able to contribute to your company's profits and dividends at this difficult time.