Saturday, 27 August 2011

Turning Up The Heat!

The shock waves created during this weeks announcement by Power NI (formally NIE) to increase electricity prices in the autumn was quite rightly viewed as yet another blow against working class households across the city.  With predictions of another severe winter on the cards news of the 18.6 per cent price hike in electricity costs was greeted with a resounding sharp intake of breath. “What next?”

As Executive directors of Power NI attempted to justify its decision on television and radio, blaming the current crisis within the global energy markets, earthquakes in Japan and of course unrest in the Middle East. Statutory agencies and community organisations, themselves increasingly inundated with families either drowning in debt or unable to cope on welfare payments, lined up to condemn the move as a “massive blow”. 

As the news began to sink in, it’s thought that Power NI’s forth coming plans will plunge an estimated 52,000 households across the north deeper in to fuel poverty.  Just recently figures released by the Consumers Council believes that people here are already paying up to £900 more for their energy than households in England.

In the very week as Power NI unveiled its plans, a young Derry mother-of-four was hauled before the courts in Bishop Street and criminalised for dishonestly obtaining electricity. It isn’t any wonder why families in some areas of the city are being forced into taking matters into their own hands. This is clearly a sign of the shape of things to come as working class communities continue to feel the brunt of capitalism in crisis.