The Western Mule claims that Welsh customers may have to pay more than those in England as
One of Britain’s largest energy companies has threatened to increase prices for all its customers in Wales if it is forced to provide a full service through the medium of Welsh.
E.On, the largest private provider of electricity to consumers in the world, has strongly criticised proposals from Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws that could force utilities to improve greatly the quality and extent of their Welsh language provision
In a letter to politicians signed by E.On’s public affairs manager Sarah Walker, the company states:
“The proposals (by the Welsh Language Commissioner) do not appear to allow for a phased introduction of these services.
“Instead the expectation, backed up by fines. is that these services will be introduced over a short period of time.
“We understand and support the overall aim of the consultation to increase the opportunity for Welsh people to use their language in their own country.
“We are also fully aware and accepting of the fact that we would have to change how we operate in Wales in order to promote the Welsh language.
“Our concern lies in both the cost and complexity of the proposals set out in the consultation.
“We believe that the lack of flexibility in the proposed standards means that the cost of compliance will be high. As a result it is likely that these increased costs will be mirrored in price increases for all customers in Wales.
“In addition, we are concerned that the standards could make the acquisition of new customers in Wales less financially attractive to energy suppliers and therefore reduce customer choice.
Western Mail October 2012
But Plaid Cymru energy spokesman Alun Ffred Jones said:
“Utilities companies produce bills in multiple languages in large parts of the world.
“For example, Finland, Spain, and Canada all offer minority languages official status that gives speakers of those languages the right to use them. Utility companies operating in these countries will be used to offering a multilingual service, and as a multi-national that recently forecast profits of over 4bn, we would have expected E.On to have the experience and ability to deal with customers in the language of their choice.
“It is important that people are able to receive transparent information about the prices of the energy they use, report problems in a clear manner, and receive important safety information such as numbers to call in the event of a power cut.
“In many parts of Wales, particularly in those areas suffering a greater prevalence of fuel poverty, Welsh is the first language of the community. It is often the only language that some people – for example elderly people suffering from memory loss – can communicate with.
“E.On will already be required to offer documents in large print and braille to assist disabled people understand their bills, and would never dream of complaining about this requirement.
“Furthermore many of their competitors already offer services in Welsh, and manage to do so without raising their prices.
“Scottish Power has been doing this for years without any problem.
“Indeed many see their ability to provide a service in Welsh as offering them a competitive advantage. If other companies can do it, then E.On can as well
Western Mail October 2012
Looks to me like E.On are trying it on and lets face it can we really trust a Utility company that is already screwing the consumer in Wales to tell is what the cost of bilingualism. will be But I suspect we will see the usual Anti Welsh comments appearing to support this
“I’m delighted that E.On is raising this very important issue. Clearly we all support greater use of the Welsh language, but I can’t imagine many people will be happy to pay higher electricity charges in Wales just so bills are produced in two languages.
“I know many Welsh speakers who are far more worried about rising prices – partly caused by the renewable energy premium – than they are about whether their bill is produced in the language of heaven or in English.”
Western Mail October 2012
Well done David not only patronising on the language and managing to have a dig on renewable at the same time.
There may be some extra cost in the initial set up with a bilingual policy in Wales but when it is fully established it will surely fall
E.on headquarters are in Düsseldorf, Germany ot is one of the major public utility companies in Europe and the world's largest investor-owned energy service provider. As result of mergers, E.ON inherited the subsidiaries of VEBA, VIAG and Ruhrgas in Central and Eastern Europe. It is also present in Russia, where it has a stake in the natural gas company Gazprom (6.4%) and control of the generation company OGK-4. E.ON is present in most of Scandinavia
It would be interesting to see how many languages E.on operate in and how many of its subsidies operate bilingually.,
But once again we have a pathetic attack on bilingualism this time from a company that probably doesn't accept that we are not simply a English region and there is no reason to treat us differently.
E.on should look at this as a challenge that will rise their status here rather than threatening already stretched consumers for the right to use their own language in their own country.