European energy bills soar with UK the latest
European energy bills soar with UK the latest
The European continent is currently the flashpoint when it comes to unprecedented demand and costs for energy despite winter being still a few months away. 

TEHRAN (Iran News) –The European continent is currently the flashpoint when it comes to unprecedented demand and costs for energy despite winter being still a few months away.

The cold winter weather is usually the time when an energy crisis makes the headlines in Europe so why is it happening now?

European household prices for energy have dramatically surged to fresh records this week with the United Kingdom the latest to announce a record energy spike by a massive 80 percent to cap off a bad week for the European continent.

After German and French power prices hit the unknown and saw the Euro suffer a 20-year low, millions of British households will see their energy bills rocket.

This comes as the maximum level UK energy companies will be allowed to charge has increased to £3,549 a year, plunging many Brits into economic hardship.

The massive 80-percent hike, announced by the British energy regulator Ofgem, will see an ordinary consumer paying an extra £1,578 for their energy in a deepening cost of living crisis.

Ofgem sets the cap on how much energy companies are allowed to charge their consumers. A string of energy companies went bankrupt after struggling to meet the cap in the face of expensive wholesale energy prices. With Ofgem allowing energy prices to soar the energy companies now won’t be going bust, but households and other consumers will.

Experts are now forecasting around 24 million British households to be strongly affected by the latest huge price hike. As energy prices rocket, there are real concerns now the average household will see energy prices spike to as much as £6,823 per year from next April.

Like in the rest of Europe, it’s not just families or individuals who are facing a huge rise in energy costs; small and medium-sized businesses are struggling too. The Confederation of British Industry has warned that many businesses are facing “distress” unless urgent action is taken.

There have been calls on the government to take urgent measures. Ofgem’s chief executive officer Jonathan Brearley told state media “[the price cap rise] is beyond the capacity of the regulator and the industry to address. The prime minister with his or her ministerial team will need to act urgently and decisively to address this.”

British Conservative Party members are currently in the process of choosing their new leader to replace Boris Johnson and become the next prime minister, with a winner to be announced on September 5. Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are the two candidates in the runoff for the top job.

Responding to the price cap increase, the opposition Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey called for energy prices to be frozen saying ”then we need a proper plan to be put in place to bring bills down next year.

“As millions suffer the Conservatives do nothing. No policy from the government, no plan from Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak. They have no idea how much pain these energy prices will cause our country. They are simply unfit to govern.”

Soaring wholesale gas costs have been fueled by the fighting in Ukraine. The British government has accused the rising cost of living crisis, the energy crisis, and rising inflation in Russia.

The accusation has been echoed by some European allies but especially by its American counterpart. Washington has also tried to blame all its economic woes on Russia.

Which doesn’t explain the massive arms packages the United States and its European allies have been pumping into a war zone. A conflict that the West says is causing great financial hardship to millions back home.

Russia dismisses the accusations being leveled against it by not just Western governments but also information of a biased nature being spread by the Western media to promote Western political objectives.

In June, the ex-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev touched on the energy crisis by slamming the Western policy of sanctions targeting Moscow’s energy saying “of course, our opponents will continue to do everything to cause maximum damage to our fuel and energy complex… Today, they are experiencing an energy crisis, the scope of which will only increase.”

The former top politician added that “even the main instigator of anti-Russian aggression, the U.S., has suffered,”

He was not the only one to predict that Europe which is heavily reliant on Russian energy will experience an increasingly large crisis in the energy sector.

The unprecedented level of sanctions against Moscow shows once again the West’s failure to learn that this policy doesn’t bring the desired results or at least the results it publicly states.

It is quite a strange policy when Europe finds itself once again being egged on mostly by the U.S. but also by the UK to impose sanctions knowing it will backfire.

The boomerang effect is being felt by European households the most as well as tipping European economies into record inflation and recession.

Data shows that as wholesale gas and electricity prices surge, millions of people in Europe are now spending a record amount of their income on energy bills.

In the face of blackout warnings, EU energy ministers are looking at holding an emergency meeting to discuss the now hostile energy markets, according to the Czech Republic which holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

Is there a realization from some EU countries that they need to get out of this sanctions regime policy? Time will tell.

It certainly might take an emergency to realize that imposing sanctions while sending weapons (allowing a minority to financially benefit at the plight of tens of millions suffering) is not the right policy to push forward in Western or Eastern Europe.

In another desperate attempt, some have tried to tie down the sovereignty of Europe’s energy to the independence of another country namely Ukraine. An argument that doesn’t add up when you consider the U.S.-led NATO military alliance’s eastward expansion towards Russia using Ukrainian territory which triggered the fighting in Eastern Europe.

Yet at the same time, NATO and the European Union have publicly refused to expand membership to Ukraine.

European economies had already been battered by the coronavirus and the conflict in Eastern Europe has intensified the problem especially by imposing sanctions.

It is very clear that economies in Europe are reliant on energy from outside suppliers and it is difficult to explain how the continent did not foresee the impact of their sanctions on Moscow apart from ignorance that the public will back these policies all the way.

Instead, a lot of European leaders have lost their seats in power or majority as a result of bad policies and the worst is still to come as the harsh winter season will bring about high demand for heating.

It’s not the leaders that are suffering but European households mostly and this winter season will see more calls to food banks; all for a war that could have been avoided if more emphasis was put on peace talks, not weapons such as implementing the Minsk agreement for example.

As some experts have noted there are other agendas in the planning process of NATO leaders to try and destabilize Eastern Europe, but as always the planning is not carried out in full and the results are backfiring. This is tumbling into very serious problems yet somehow Europe continues to blindly follow Washington.

  • source : Tehrantimes