Energy firms must put customers first

WE are hearing reports that the economy is picking up but many people across the country are struggling to see the benefit of the so called recovery.

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While house prices may be booming in inner city London that will be of no comfort to hard working men and women who are being faced with the toughest of decisions on a weekly basis.

Heat your home or put dinner on the table? For many it really is that stark.

Energy prices are going through the roof and at the same time there has been a sharp rise in the number of people being forced to turn to food banks to feed themselves and their families.

And it is the most vulnerable people in our communities who are bearing the brunt - older residents on fixed incomes and families struggling to meet the rising cost of living.

That is why I have this week written to the Chief Executives of the big six energy companies asking them to put the interests of their customers first and help reduce the impact of rising fuel prices.

I specifically want to see all energy tariffs frozen for at least the next two years and for the tariff on prepayment meters to be lowered.

I also want them to waive the cost of removing prepayment meters and to work with the Council to provide energy advice for customers.

In addition I have invited them to attend a summit in Glasgow early in the New Year to look at how we can tackle the problem of fuel poverty.

It is not fair that while profits continue to rise the poorest are being made to pay rising bills.

We have a responsibility to do all we can to assist those who need our help most.

So Government Ministers may talk about a recovery but that is not the experience of those who can't afford to pay their fuel bills and those resorting to food banks this winter.

n TOMORROW is of course the big day and I would like to wish all Evening Times readers a very peaceful Christmas and a prosperous 2014 - the Year of Glasgow.

It has been a busy 12 months and next year is already shaping up to be one of the most memorable in our city's history with the Commonwealth Games and MTV European Music Awards among the highlights.

While I am sure everyone is looking forward to spending time with their family and friends over the coming days it's important that we also remember those for whom this is a difficult time due to illness or the loss of a loved one.

It is the most special time of the year.

I hope you are able to spend it with those closest to you, and maybe reach out to someone you know who may be alone.

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