UNISON warns of 'a cold Christmas for millions'
(15/11/12) UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis has warned that rising energy and fuel bills, allied to rising inflation, will spell "a cold Christmas for millions".
As winter approaches, UNISON members are "dreading the pressure" of paying their gas and electricity bills, as prices go up and their wages stay the same.
And they're not alone. Fuel poverty in the UK is increasing. Today one in four households are in fuel poverty. UNISON can help. We've set up an energy switching scheme - a new way to save on gas and electricity bills. It works by getting as many UNISON members as possible to register their interest in taking part so that we can go to the energy companies and negotiate a competitive energy deal.
The more members that register, the better the offer we can get and the more money you can save, it's as simple as that.
There is no obligation when you register to sign up to the new offer, so please register your details so we can send you more information. You can find out more and register at unison-switch.co.uk. Registration closes on 25 November so please register now.
As a UNISON member you could also save up to £175 a year on your energy bills with free loft insulation, and up to £135 with free cavity wall insulation from British Gas. Call 0800 107 2547 quoting IUM001 or visit britishgas.co.uk/insulation for more information. You need to apply by 30 November. In addition, UNISON's charity There for You can help. There for You will be offering a winter fuel grants programme - members who are on a net household income of less than £18,000 can apply for help with their fuel payments. The application form will be available on our website at unison.org.uk in December.
UNISON's concern for its members has been underlined by the recent allegations of price-fixing in the wholesale gas market.
The Financial Services Authority and Ofgem are looking into the claims, which were made by a whistle-blower who was active in the market.
UNISON national officer Matthew Lay commented: "The energy price-fixing scandal demonstrates yet again that the market is not working and that its failings are being paid for by hard-working UNISON members up and down the UK.
"It is about time we had a thorough review of the energy prices being charged, with radical changes to ensure that we can keep the lights on and homes warm in the future, without being forced into poverty." In order to tackle the issue of high fuel costs head on, UNISON has joined forces with the Energy Bill Revolution alliance, to campaign to end fuel poverty. The campaign aims to use the billions of pounds raised by the government's carbon emissions tax to end fuel poverty, create jobs and help the economy to grow. Please take two minutes to sign our petition at energybillrevolution.org and ask all your friends and networks to do the same. This will help put real pressure on the government to sort out fuel poverty - and not a moment too soon.