LETTER: Powerless against electric companies

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From Mr George Barker

Sir: My wife and I run a small business near Worcester, where our power supply was interrupted for about 36 hours this week. We have now experienced four long interruptions in 18 months, each caused by storms not abnormal for the region and time of year, and each costing us a day's earnings.

Clearly, the infrastructure is not sufficiently robust to offer the security of supply which customers may reasonably expect, but we have little choice but to put up with it.

Our experience highlights two important points regarding electricity privatisation: the price data used in evidence by advocates of privatisation does not reflect the true cost of electricity, since the economies are being paid for by people like us. And despite paying their directors free- market salaries and making free-market profits for their shareholders, the electricity companies are not really operating in a free market. For, no matter how dissatisfied we may be, we cannot buy our power elsewhere.

Yours sincerely,

George Barker

Knightwick, Worcestershire

13 July