Tag Archives: gas

Wholesale gas prices have dropped. Will our energy bills start to fall? 

A while ago, This Site reported that wholesale gas prices had fallen by 45 per cent. Now they’re down to parity with where they were 18 months ago – before the various crises that pushed them up.

So, are we going to see matching reductions in our energy bills?

The jaded among you will not be surprised to learn that the answer, according to This Is Money, is no.

See what you make of the reasons:

Prices have started to fall back in recent weeks as a milder-than-expected autumn has reduced demand, and a flurry of cargoes arriving at ports across Europe has eased supply concerns.

Nathan Piper, head of oil and gas research at Investec said: “This is likely to be a temporary respite ahead of colder winter weather and associated increase in gas demand for heating.

“Although the spot price has declined to the ten year average, the forward curve continues to indicate high prices throughout the next two years leading to significant parts of European industry shutting down.”

That’s one reason. Here’s another:

Energy companies ‘hedge’ by buying gas and electricity well ahead of when it is needed. Suppliers will buy a certain amount of energy in advance to lock in the price and to reduce the risk of adverse price movements.

It means that our monthly bills don’t reflect today’s prices, but rather the wholesale cost from when the supplier first paid for the energy.

Currently our household energy bills are being kept artificially low by the energy price guarantee, and don’t represent the actual wholesale price being paid for by suppliers.

Had the £2,500 guarantee cap for the average household not been put in place, Ofgem would have increased its price cap [for an “average” household] to £3,549 per year in October 2022.

Should wholesale gas prices continue to fall, the Government is likely to be the beneficiary given [it is] footing the bill.

A prolonged and seemingly permanent drop could eventually lead to new fixed rate deals being offered below the price cap, but firms are likely to be very cautious on doing this.

So your only chance of getting lower fuel bills is if the climate change, that so many Tory MPs want to deny, continues to affect us until April.

In that event, it seems to me that we’ll have to accept we’ve gone past the point of no return as far as that calamity is concerned, and this one – energy prices – won’t be particularly relevant any more.

Or is that too pessimistic?

Source: Wholesale gas prices have dropped from their summer peak: Will our energy bills start to fall before the price guarantee ends in April?

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With the wholesale price of gas down 45%, ask why your bill is rising so massively

Yes – the price of gas is down by 45 per cent but your bill is rising by, on average, 28 per cent.

Apparently this is because gas is bought on ‘futures’ markets – but there seems to be a problem with that…

Do you get the feeling you’re being conned?

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News moves fast: will weak pound scupper Truss’s energy price cap?

This being a bank holiday weekend, This Writer is either otherwise occupied or almost totally incapacitated, so I’m putting up material that has interested me – and I hope it interests you. Make of it what you will.

Following on from the immediately preceding article, it seems that even if gas prices have come down, the value of the pound has also fallen – meaning the UK may be unable to take advantage of the situation to implement other energy saving measures with cash left over from the original amount Liz Truss expected to borrow for her energy price cap scheme.

Check out this clip:

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EU bid to stockpile gas has worked, meaning prices are coming down. Good news!

This being a bank holiday weekend, This Writer is either otherwise occupied or almost totally incapacitated, so I’m putting up material that has interested me – and I hope it interests you. Make of it what you will:

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Robert Llewellyn roasts Rees-Mogg while explaining why wind is better than gas [VIDEO]

Fully charged: Robert Llewellyn.

It seems there’s a bit more to Robert Llewellyn than playing Kryten on Red Dwarf.

He also hosts a show on YouTube called Fully Charged, in which he has just delivered an excellent summary of why the UK should shift to cheap, renewable energy and away from expensive gas.

Yes, that’s right. Gas is hugely expensive in comparison with renewables. The only reason Liz Truss is pushing it is that she has surrounded herself with fossil fuel promoters who are (presumably) giving her reasons to support them.

And watch out for the sideswipe at Jacob Rees-Mogg, the new energy minister.

Here’s the clip:

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Tory Britain: we can’t afford to eat every day and we’re setting fire to our homes, trying to keep warm

Secret smile: Boris Johnson probably thinks it is very funny that his policies have made more than two million people unable to afford to eat every day, and that some people have set fire to their homes while trying to heat them by burning timber indoors.

You may wish to bookmark this article so you can send it to anyone who tries to tell you voting Conservative is a good idea.

Because more than 12 years of Conservative government has laid the once-great United Kingdom lower than it has been in decades – possibly more than a century.

More than two million people – one in every seven adults – can no longer afford to eat food every day:

More than 2 million adults in the UK have gone without food for a whole day over the past month because they cannot afford to eat

The latest survey of the nation’s food intake shows a 57% jump in the proportion of households cutting back on food or skipping meals over the first three months of this year, with one in seven adults (7.3 million) estimated to be food-insecure, up from 4.7 million in January.

And fire brigades are now overworked dealing with blazes in houses where people started burning timber in open fires because they could not afford the cost of central heating any more:

A man in south-west London set fire to his property by burning timber in his living room to keep warm.

The man was trying to avoid putting on the central heating in his home, fire investigators said.

Fuel poverty campaigners said the incident – one of at least 100 involving open fires, log burners and heaters in the capital in the last few months – laid bare “the harsh and dangerous reality of the cost-of-living crisis”.

Some might say that they don’t care; these incidents involve other people. It’s very easy to throw shade on others by saying they are unable to keep their finances in order.

But the Tory cost-of-living crisis affects us all.

Food costs more because of Brexit-related supply issues; housing costs more because the banks have increased interest rates, meaning mortgages and rents are going up; heating costs more because of the shortage of gas created last winter and accelerated by the Russia-Ukraine war; we are paying more tax to the Tory government than any UK population in more than 40 years.

Only people who are extremely rich can afford to blame others for being unable to stay warm or feed themselves in these circumstances. If you’re on a normal wage, you’ll feel the pinch soon enough.

And it’s all due to Conservative economic incompetence – sold to you with a lie that they knew what they were doing.

Or was it a lie? How much worse would you find it if this enforced starvation and these house fires were intended to happen by Boris Johnson and his party?

Source: More than 2m adults in UK cannot afford to eat every day, survey finds | Food poverty | The Guardian

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Also in the news: Starmer’s racist Labour accuses Jews of anti-Semitism

“Keith”: this is just one comment on the way Starmer treats members of his own party who support the values on which Labour was formed, rather than the twisted parody that he leads.

Labour has become a farce under Keir Starmer; its false-flag attack on party members is once again accusing Jews of anti-Semitism – some of them for a second time.

A quick glance down the list of those accused (see this Skwawkbox article) provides familiar names: Leah Levane, Jenny Manson, Graham Bash, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Mike Cushman, Glyn Secker, Jonathan Rosenhead, Stephen Marks, Diana Neslen, Marion Roberts, Tony Booth.

Some of these have been targets of the Labour witch-hunt for years. In supporting this latest offence (and believe me, despite his claim to be stepping back from disciplinary matters in accordance with EHRC demands, he’s in this up to his armpits), Keir Starmer is disgracing himself, the disciplinary farce over which he presides, and every single member of the Labour Party who is allowing it to continue.

Also in the news recently:

Petition launched for Boris Johnson to fix the social care crisis – because he still hasn’t

Yes, Johnson has increased our National Insurance contributions by more than 10 per cent on the pretext that he will use the extra cash to fix social care – but he hasn’t offered any details of what he was going to do.

So the Guideposts Trust, a charity working in local communities with people who have dementia, learning disabilities, autism, and long-term mental health issues, and carers, has launched a petition.

It calls for “a real plan to solve the social care crisis that our community has been living with for years”.

And it makes suggestions:

Give social care staff the pay and respect they need.

Level up social care to the same level as the NHS.

Improve benefits and support for people trying to live independently.

You can sign the petition here.

Gas prices skyrocket but Johnson isn’t bothered

We should not be surprised that Boris Johnson isn’t concerned about rocketing gas bills; he doesn’t pay his own, after all (that’s if Downing Street even has gas).

Global gas prices have spiked, just as millions of people across the UK are facing the loss of £1,040 per year with the removal of the £20-per-week Universal Credit “uplift”.

And Johnson had the nerve to say: “I don’t believe people will be short of food – and wages are actually rising.”

He said gas prices surging was a “short-term” effect of the global economy re-starting. Is that right?

That’ll be a “no”, then.

The obvious solution is to re-nationalise gas – but neither Boris Johnson nor Keir Starmer would dream of doing that; they represent the people who are profiting hugely from the increases.

(What, did you honestly think they give a fig about your best interests?)

As a result of this – and all the other erosions of our rights and earning power – the UK is facing a Winter of Despair. See for yourself:

Patel taken to court over ‘concentration camps’ for asylum seekers

From The Mirror:

“Home Secretary Priti Patel is being taken to court over plans to keep asylum seekers in grim barracks for another four years.

“285 migrants are sleeping 14 to a dorm in Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, where Covid outbreaks are rife.

“The High Court ruled in June that the Home Office had acted unlawfully by placing refugees in the barbed wire ringed facility – where fires broke out amid unrest in January.

“Ms Patel had used emergency planning laws to take over the MoD base for 12 months.

“Full planning permission was needed to continue using it beyond September 21. But she has secured it for four more years with a Special Development Order, avoiding local authority scrutiny and public consultation.

“Now one volunteer who supports residents is challenging the decision in the High Court as a breach of planning control – and has crowdfunded £35,000 to fight the case.”

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Turncoat Tories who clapped key workers are now planning to stab them in the back

Here’s a relatively new buzzphrase for you: “Fire and re-hire.”

It has become the latest fashion among big corporations in the UK, with multiple strikes taking place over recent weeks as unions have done their best to protest this despicable practice.

The aim is to fire workers, then hire them back immediately – at a lower rate of pay (and possibly with fewer in-work benefits as well).

This means bosses have more cash to pass around among themselves and shareholders – and there’s the added bonus of causing unnecessary unpleasantness to the people who actually generate the profits that these parasites enjoy.

This week, Conservative MPs had a chance to support a Parliamentary motion stating that “fire and re-hire” should be banned. They didn’t even turn up.

Labour has been all over this.

I dare say every Labour MP with a Twitter account has put up something similar.

The Tory press was more interested in hounding Labour’s Ian Byrne for joining a picket line to stop British Gas from using these despicable ‘fire and rehire’ practices.

Here’s Mr Byrne to say what he’s been up to:

Tory rags attacked Byrne for travelling 42 miles to Stockport during lockdown.

They omitted mention of the fact that he was well within his rights as the travel was related to his job, and he was perfectly entitled to do it.

Also, of course, Boris Johnson had travelled to another country, and the Tory rags didn’t utter a whisper about that!

I think Rachael is right. So is Karie:

The TUC has published an article pointing out that “fire and re-hire” is the diametric opposite of Boris Johnson’s claim that he intends to “level up” the UK – as it levels-down workers’ pay and living standards.

The threat of fire-and-rehire, when workers are dismissed and told to reapply for their roles on inferior terms, has been used in sectors from aviation to hospitality in recent months.

And workers at British Gas are currently taking industrial action against an attempt by bosses to unilaterally cut their pay and conditions.

A poll published by the TUC today reveals that nearly one in 10 (9%) workers have been told to re-apply for their jobs on worse terms and conditions since the first lockdown in March.

Nearly a fifth of 18-24 year-olds say their employer has tried to re-hire them on inferior terms during the pandemic.

And twice as many black and minority ethnic (BME) workers (15%) have been faced with “fire and rehire” as white workers (8%)

The Tories – absent from the vote to support banning the practice – were probably instead plotting ways to water down workers’ rights even further.

After Brexit, the Tory government has an opportunity to inflict huge harm on the people who power the national economy. Kwasi Kwarteng may be denying it but if that wasn’t the plan, where were they during the “fire and re-hire” vote?

Bizarrely, the Tories have been helped in this plan by British voters.

British voters voted to leave the European Union.

And British voters voted to give Boris Johnson a Parliamentary majority of 80 seats, to make sure that he would be able to give employers carte blanche to steal pay from the hands of their employees.

Ask these British voters who they would support in a future election and I’m willing to bet that most of them would say they’d support the Tories again.

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New evidence has cast doubt on Theresa May’s Syria claims *WHILE SHE WAS MAKING THEM*

Theresa May: Protesting too much?

If Theresa May thinks we’ll swallow unquestioningly her “statement” on the air strikes she ordered last Friday, she must think we were all born yesterday.

We all know the justification by now, right? The claim is that the town of Douma, in Syria, was attacked by government forces using chemical weapons. These have been banned across the world for a century and the US, UK and France launched air strikes against facilities believed to be involved in the manufacture of chemical weapons for humanitarian reasons – to discourage any further use of such weapons. The strikes were said to be tightly targeted, focused on this single objective.

That was the substance of Mrs May’s speech. But it has been seriously undermined already.

She said: “On Saturday 7 April, up to 75 people, including young children, were killed in a horrific attack in Douma, with as many as 500 further casualties. All indications are that this was a chemical weapons attack. UK medical and scientific experts have analysed open-source reports [she means social media posts], images and video footage from the incident and concluded that the victims were exposed to a toxic chemical. That is corroborated by first-hand accounts from NGOs and aid workers, while the World Health Organisation received reports that hundreds of patients arrived at Syrian health facilities on Saturday night with ‘signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals’.”

But as she was participating in a Parliamentary debate on the air strikes, journalist Robert Fisk published a claim that the casualties in the Douma attack were treated for dust inhalation – and not for a chemical gas attack. Listen:

You can also read the Independent article.

“We needed to intervene rapidly to alleviate further indiscriminate humanitarian suffering,” said Mrs May. “It was not just morally right but legally right to take military action, together with our closest allies.

“We have published the legal basis for this action. It required three conditions to be met. First, there must be convincing evidence, generally accepted by the international community as a whole, of extreme humanitarian distress on a large scale, requiring immediate and urgent relief. Secondly, it must be objectively clear that there is no practicable alternative to the use of force if lives are to be saved. Thirdly, the proposed use of force must be necessary and proportionate to the aim of relief of humanitarian suffering, and must be strictly limited in time and in scope to this aim.”

We have already seen that claims of convincing evidence may have been exaggerated – and in any case, claims that action on a humanitarian basis is legal have been disputed. As the use of chemical weapons is now in doubt, the second condition is also unmet – people are still being killed in Syria. Thirdly – well, we’ll come to that.

“This was a limited, targeted and effective strike that would significantly degrade Syrian chemical weapons capabilities and deter their future use, and with clear boundaries that expressly sought to avoid escalation and did everything possible to prevent civilian casualties.

“As a result, the co-ordinated actions of the US, UK and France were successfully and specifically targeted at three sites. Contrary to what the Leader of the Opposition said at the weekend, these were not “empty buildings”. The first was the Barzeh branch of the Scientific Studies and Research Centre in northern Damascus. This was a centre for the research and development of Syria’s chemical and biological programme. It was hit by 57 American TLAMs and 19 American JASSMs.”

In that case, if chemical weapons were present – or just the ingredients for them – they would have been spread out over a wide area by the explosions. There has been no report of any such contamination.

Quite the opposite, it seems. I accept that the link runs to a report by Russia Today, so perhaps you’d prefer a report by CBS News – the US media outlet. Both make it clear that reporters saw no evidence of harmful chemicals – just anti-venom for snakebites (as reported on This Site previously). We now see that Barzeh was the planned base for the OPCW inspectors, who would have taken up residence there on April 15. Well, it’s rubble now. Who benefits from that?

“The second site was the Him Shinsar chemical weapons bunkers, 15 miles west of the city of Homs, which contained both a chemical weapons equipment and storage facility and an important command post. These were successfully hit by seven French SCALP cruise missiles.

“The third site was the Him Shinsar chemical weapons storage site and former missile base, which is now a military facility. This was assessed to be a location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment, whose destruction would degrade Syria’s ability to deliver sarin in the future. This was hit by nine US TLAMs, five naval and two SCALP cruise missiles from France and eight Storm Shadow missiles launched by our four RAF Tornado GR4s. Very careful scientific analysis was used to determine where best to target these missiles to maximise the destruction of stockpiled chemicals and to minimise any risks to the surrounding area. The facility that we targeted is located some distance from any known population centres, reducing yet further any such risk of civilian casualties.”

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, in his response to the statement, pointed out that OPCW inspectors had given both Barzeh and the Him Shinsar facilities a clean bill of health in November 2017.

He said: “In relation to the air strikes against the Barzeh and Him Shinsar facilities, the Prime Minister will be aware that the OPCW carried out inspections on both those facilities in 2017 and concluded that ‘the inspection team did not observe any activities inconsistent with obligations’ under the chemical weapons convention.”

Mention of the OPCW brings us to further questions about the intelligence Mrs May has used:

The new questions are:

  1. If we knew where [Syrian president Bashar al] Assad was stashing his chemical weapons, why did we wait for him to use them again?
  2. If we just bombed chemical weapons factories in Syria, why was the existence of these factories never reported before – to the UN, the OPCW or the public?
  3. Why did the bombing commence before the OPCW had concluded their chemical weapons investigation?

In this context, it was bizarre to hear Mrs May saying that she supports the OPCW investigation, after having blown up the investigators’ base: “”e support strongly the work of the OPCW fact-finding mission that is currently in Damascus.”

She went on to say that she decided to act ahead of any results because the OPCW would not be able to attach blame, due to a Russian veto on a UN resolution to establish such a mechanism. She said: “Even if the OPCW team is able to visit Douma to gather information to make that assessment… it cannot attribute responsibility.

She continued: “Even if we had the OPCW’s findings and a mechanism to attribute, for as long as Russia continued to veto the UN Security Council would still not be able to act.”

So Mrs May hid evidence that Syria was developing chemical weapons from the OPCW, supported a military operation that bombed the OPCW’s planned base of operations, and would have taken part in air strikes no matter what report the OPCW investigators would have given. That doesn’t seem very supportive to me! 

Mrs May denied acting on the orders of US President Donald Trump: “It is in our national interest to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in Syria and to uphold and defend the global consensus that these weapons should not be used, for we cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised—within Syria, on the streets of the UK or elsewhere.”

“On the streets of the UK or elsewhere”. She had to mention the alleged chemical attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, you see. It is as though that incident was staged in order to soften up the British public to the idea of military action on the pretext of preventing the use of such weaponry. Isn’t it?

Mrs May later added: “Last Thursday’s report from the OPCW has confirmed our findings that it was indeed a Novichok in Salisbury… While of a much lower order of magnitude, the use of a nerve agent on the streets of Salisbury is part of a pattern of disregard for the global norms that prohibit the use of chemical weapons.”

The problem is, the lab that tested the Salisbury substance for the OPCW found that it was BZ – a chemical agent apparently used by the UK and the US.

And there is no evidence of chemical weapons at Barzeh, and both that facility and those at Him Shinsar were cleared by the OPCW five months ago.

Without actual evidence of chemical weapons, it is impossible for Mrs May to justify these activities. And she has no evidence.

Mrs May continued: “Why did we not recall Parliament? The speed with which we acted was essential in co-operating with our partners to alleviate further humanitarian suffering and to maintain the vital security of our operations.”

We have established that it wasn’t. Blowing up facilities that have nothing to do with chemical weapons will not alleviate humanitarian suffering (actually, what does that even mean? She was trying to say she was acting on humanitarian principles but mangled the English language instead).

“This was a limited, targeted strike on a legal basis that has been used before.”

And falsely used in this instance.

“And it was a decision that required the evaluation of intelligence and information, much of which was of a nature that could not be shared with Parliament.”

But it could have been shared with other members of the Privy Council, like Mr Corbyn. Clearly it was not, which casts it into doubt.

The best that can be said of Mrs May’s statement is that it is unconvincing.

We have an eyewitness account that the alleged victims of a chemical attack in Douma were in fact under treatment for dust inhalation, there is no evidence that chemical weapons were manufactured or stored at the sites the UK, US and France bombed last weekend (and claims that a Russian chemical weapon was used on the Skripals have been contradicted), so there was no justification for the military action.

On the other hand, Mrs May’s keenness to ascribe the Salisbury poisoning to Russia without evidence, her support for a military adventure that stymied OPCW inspectors, her withholding of evidence – or inability to supply it – from the same organisation – all these elements seem very suspicious indeed.

As this situation is ongoing, further information is likely to become available and I stand ready to be corrected if Mrs May is vindicated.

At the moment, she seems a weak leader, desperately trying to manufacture some popularity – and failing.


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May’s hypocrisy: Use of UK-sold chemical weapons in Syria gives her an opportunity for mass murder

This is classic ‘cycle of hate’ behaviour.

The UK sold several chemical weapons ingredients to Syria, back in 2012/13 – with explicit approval from then-prime minister David Cameron.

It followed the sale of huge amounts of other ingredients in the 1980s.

It seems those ingredients have been turned into weapons and used on the people of Douma, in Syria.

Now the UK government, in an act of enormous hypocrisy, wants to join Donald Trump’s USA in a reprisal bombing against that country.

Mrs May said the international community needed to uphold the worldwide ban on chemical weapons – which is outrageous, considering our government’s effort to undermine it.

As UK citizens, we can only be nauseated by Mrs May’s behaviour.

This Site warned that we would be in exactly this situation five years ago.

I wrote: “In January 2012, 10 months after violence erupted in Syria, [then-business secretary] Vince Cable licensed the exporting of potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride to the Syrian government – both chemicals being ingredients of nerve gas.

“The chemicals were sold under licences that specified they should be used for making aluminium structures like window frames – but the government has refused to identify the licence holders. Dodgy!

“This means that, in the same way as the United States with Iraq, it is entirely possible that the [Conservative/Liberal Democrat] Coalition government wanted British troops to attack Syria in response to a situation that the Coalition government created!”

The fly in current UK prime minister Theresa May’s ointment at the moment is Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has blocked US-led calls for an investigation into the chemical attack. Russia’s own proposal did not gain enough votes.

The US proposal would have launched an independent investigation that would have assigned blame to a perpetrator. The Russians wanted a UN-led investigation, but with the results reviewed by Russia for “acceptance” before being publicised.

Both proposals were flawed. Russia’s demand for the ability to censor the results of an investigation is unacceptable – but then, why should the US (and the UK) be permitted to assign blame solely to Syria for an attack in which they chemical weapons were used that were made from our products?

Boris Johnson, who is still (amazingly) clinging on to his role as the UK’s foreign secretary, has leapt in to offer his biased view:

Chemical attacks made possible by the actions of your government, Mr Johnson.

The latest information is that Donald Trump is planning to bomb Syria anyway. Russia seems unlikely to tolerate any such action.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for a ceasefire and a political solution, rather than – as Susan Rees describes below, “bomb first, talk later”. He is the only leader who is making sense.

https://twitter.com/OWLowery/status/983755108013010951

And what good will more bombing achieve?

These words seem prophetic, in the light of Mr Trump’s latest bit of sabre-rattling:

So, a big win for Theresa May: Her government sold the ingredients of chemical weapons to Syria; those ingredients were used in an attack that gives us an opportunity to attack Syria; and if Jeremy Corbyn opposes such an attack, she can smear him as an unpatriotic peacenik.

And the only cost will be thousands of Syrian lives and the possibility of conflict with Russia – which is a nuclear superpower, let’s not forget!

As UK citizens, we can only be nauseated by Mrs May’s behaviour. Tory political decisions have created this situation and she is revelling in the opportunity to commit mass murder.


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