I'm not sure how I feel about something, and I'd like to canvass some opinion.
Here's the thing: every month, a direct debit for £89 whooshes silently from my bank account and into the coffers of NPower. In return for my £89, I have sockets which dispense electricity, lights which illuminate my family's home when we flick the switch, and toasty warm radiators when the temperature plummets in the winter months (for the record, it's not on yet, I've only got back into wearing trousers instead of shorts in the last fortnight).
A lot goes into that bill, you can see what proportion is spent on what by looking here.
Eighty-nine pounds. On the face of it, that doesn't seem too expensive for such a crucial product: energy. And it's not. When that bill lands on the mat, I groan, but not because it's really expensive. Just because it's a bill, and the only post I ever get is either telling me how much money is going into my account (not enough) how much is coming out (plenty) or how much is left (less than nothing, generally).
But we all need energy. Heating and lights are not things I would ever want to have to make do without (although there are those who do, and that's another blog post entirely). Energy is an essential.
The thing I'm unsure of is this: do I think it's okay that the suppliers of our energy are making a shedload of money by selling it to us?
Today, Ed Milliband gave his speech to the Labour Party conference. In it, he said a Labour government would freeze the price of energy until 2017. Almost immediately, the Guardian (yes, sorry, I'm a bit lefty) comments section was full of people saying things like "it's a nice step in the direction of re-nationalisation" and others saying "re-nationalisation is just a return to the outdated politics of the 70s, when Labour fucked the country right up and there were power shortages".
Thing is, I don't remember the 70s, because I hadn't been born. I can well imagine that it was a bit shit, three day working weeks, strikes on all days ending in y, that sort of thing. But is there a reason, intrinsic to nationalisation, that the supply of energy couldn't be publicly owned? I don't know. What do you reckon?
What I see at the moment is a few, very large, companies who can pretty much charge what they want for energy, because what are we going to do about it? Unless we want a return to using candles to light our homes, to using an open fire to heat them, we can't decide we won't give one of the energy suppliers our custom. They can charge what they like, make as much money as they see fit, and we have very little say over it. That doesn't seem fair to me.
But maybe it is. What do you think?