The BBC’s Subliminal Adverts


Anyone heard of ‘Ovo Energy’?

Probably not.

Which raises the question why would the BBC give them a nice little spot on its UK News page and ‘report’ their comments without challenge?


In this post I noted that energy minister, Ed Davey, had said:

‘Rising gas prices have been the cause of rising energy bills at the moment.’


Thoughtful in the comments linked to a BBC ‘report’ saying:

Wholesale energy prices ‘not going up’, says Ovo Energy

Stephen Fitzpatrick, MD and founder of Ovo Energy, said he had not seen wholesale prices rise for about two years.

“If they’re buying more expensive gas, more expensive electricity, in a large part we think this is because they’re selling it to themselves”.



The BBC’s write up is short and based purely on what ‘Ovo’ said.

However in the actual interview the BBC interviewer stated that ‘independent sources say that wholesale prices have gone up 8%.’

Question….Why is that counter point not in the write up?



Ofgem…the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets…so presumably they know what they are talking about, said this:

Facts about wholesale costs

  • Wholesale costs are the biggest component of the average bill, as shown in the pie chart above.
  • Over the last ten years, wholesale electricity costs have risen by around 140 per cent and gas costs by 240 per cent.
  • In the last year, wholesale costs have risen by around £10 to £610 of an average annual dual fuel household bill.
  • The wholesale price of gas for use this winter is 8 per cent higher than the price of gas for use last winter.
  • The wholesale price of electricity for use this winter is 13 per cent higher than the price of electricity for use last winter.


Gas 8% higher than last year.

Electricity 13% higher than last year.


And yet the BBC allow Ovo to claim there has been no rise in 2 years.


Which is odd really because a quick perusal of their own website tells us this:


Wholesale electricity price

wholesale electricity cost


graph of wholesale gas cost




Now I don’t know about you but as I read that it tells me that wholesale prices for both gas and electricity have gone up in the last twelve months.


So when Stephen Fitzpatrick, MD and founder of Ovo Energy, said he had not seen wholesale prices rise for about two years he was lying.


Perhaps he forgot his company’s little boast:

We try our best to be open and honest with our customers, so we thought you may be interested to see what the prices actually are on the wholesale market.’


The cost of gas has risen by 240 per cent over the last ten years, according to Ofgem, acting as the main driver of rising energy bills.

This graph shows that in 2011 prices were under 60 and are now nearer 70 pence per therm:

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 At 13.01.22


So just why did the BBC, despite knowing wholesale prices have gone up allow him to get away with that and give his company a prime spot on their website?

As the company claims it is ‘greener’ than most, using more renewable energy, is it possible that the BBC were giving it a little nudge in the Public’s consciousness?…maybe the BBC pension plan has invested in this little company…who knows.

It certainly fits in with the BBC’s own agenda…helping out the ‘little guy’ against Big Business and it can’t hurt that Ovo is just that little bit greener.



This from the Energy and Climate Change Committee might also help judge why prices have risen…..

The main driver behind energy price rises has been wholesale gas and electricity costs, but
network charges, energy and climate change policies, and company costs and profits also
contribute. In future, DECC estimates that its energy and climate change policies will add 33% to the average electricity price paid by UK households in 2020, in addition to any potential wholesale price rises.

DECC suggested that the main drivers of recent increases are: wholesale energy costs,
estimated to have contributed at least 60% of the increase in household energy bills between 2010-2012; network costs, supplier operating costs and profit margins, estimated to have contributed around 25% of the increase; and the costs of energy and climate change policies, estimated to have contributed around 15% of the increase.11 Energy supply companies argued that the majority of the costs which had contributed to energy price rises are outside their control.

In its recent report, Estimated impacts of energy and climate change policies on energy
prices and bills bills, DECC reported that the average gas prices paid by UK households in 2012/13 were 5% higher due to Government energy efficiency policies such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) (see table 10 10). They claimed that the estimated impact of  policies on household gas prices was expected to remain broadly unchanged to 2020.

The average electricity price paid by UK households in 2012/13 were 17% higher due to Government energy efficiency policies and the added cost of  supporting renewable energy.

In the future, DECC estimated that the impact of these policies on the electricity price could increase to 33% in 2020 (in addition 20 to any potential wholesale price rises).






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25 Responses to The BBC’s Subliminal Adverts

  1. Arthur Penney says:

    Without seeing the full graphs for the last two years, it is impossible to agree with this article.

    It is perfectly possible that two years ago there was a sudden spike in the price of Gas and Electricity (perhaps for weeks or even days) that make the claim possible.

    For instance Ovo energy could state, quite truthfully, that there has been a 5% FALL in gas and electricity prices in the last 6 months – you get the drift.


    • Alan says:

      For the two years before 2013 prices rose:

      DECC suggested that the main drivers of recent increases are: wholesale energy costs, estimated to have contributed at least 60% of the increase in household energy bills between 2010-2012

      Have added graph to post to show rise in gas prices…which shows they have risen since 2011.


      • Arthur Penney says:

        Thanks – although it does look like the price of gas has plateaued at about 60 since 2011.

        Problem – find the Fourier series.


    • pah says:

      The Beeb provide part of the answer – although there is an apples and pears dimension here. Looks like prices have been steadily rising and the margins are relatively small …

      In the article from 2012 they take great pains to blame the Government for the price rises. Little changes it seems.


  2. Alex Feltham says:

    It must get difficult for the editor here to find a new angle. How many different ways can you say “The BBC is irredeemably biased to the left. and it’s got to go.”

    It has got to go if we’re ever going to get down to solving broken Britain as Dave called it.

    But if more fun stories of hilarious bias are your bag my vote here is for the BBC coverage of a poll showing that a quarter of Britain’s young “don’t trust Muslims”.

    There’s a great dissection of it in: “Cheer Up BBC.
    The Glass Is Three Quarters Full!” at:!/2013/10/cheer-up-bbc-glass-is-three-quarters.html


  3. Beeboidal says:



  4. thoughtful says:

    I found it a very cryptic comment which implies so much but says so little. The obvious intention is to create distrust in an industry which Milliband is accusing of making too much profit.
    Ovo is an energy company which has set up deals with Labour local authorities for people incapable of using a computer.

    One graph you won’t be seeing on the BBC is the way that the cost of energy as a proportion of disposable income following deregulation. Once the old nationalisation excesses were shaken out energy prices fell to around half the previous levels. If energy companies were re nationalised we could expect to see prices double.


  5. Pete says:

    I bet you read the daily mail.


    • thoughtful says:

      occasionally I do Pete, but then I read most of the media including the Guardian !


    • Guest Who says:

      This ‘you’ of whom you speak being…?


      • Albaman says:

        Even us “fokkers/trolls/human DOS” can work that out.
        Why does “you” cause you so much difficulty?


        • Guest Who says:

          “Even us …”

          There’s a thing.
          You’ve worked it out (clever, as the absence of a quote and no obvious thread trail could make it the author or any prior poster) but in ‘responding’ (let’s not call it anything less friendly) have actually managed to not only not answer the question not even posed to you, but also barged in to make another demand of your own. Bravo.
          ps: If referring to my occasional collective for ‘you’ and your BFF’s on station, it’s ‘Flokkers’ for the habit of circling to pounce and strafe with zero relevance to the topic of BBC bias. FYI.
          Thank you for so eloquently nose-diving into the ground to prove it. Again.


    • Amounderness Lad says:

      Standard Lefty and Beeboid kneejerk insult to anybody who holds a point of view they disagree with intended to insinuate gullibility, mental dysfunction or intense bigotry.
      It ranks with “Racist”, “Homophobe”, “Islamophobe” and other terms whose sole purpose is to close down discussion and silence all opposition and, as such, is best treated with the contempt it deserves. It’s only real use is to trip the Beebs Canned Laughter Machine in the hope that their Useful idiots will actually believe somebody has made a funny comment.


  6. IanH says:

    Ovo aren’t listed in the top 100 BBC pension shares as listed here


  7. Conspiracy Theory Central says:

    They are right in that wholesale prices were briefly higher in 2011 than their current value and even higher in 2009. Those were transient peaks, though, so it’s a disingenuous statement, no doubt.


    • Guest Who says:

      “They are right …”
      See what you did there.


      • Conspiracy Theory Central says:

        I agree with Alan’s basic argument. *However*, the man from Ovo is correct that wholesale prices are no higher than in 2011. Then again, if you look at the graph it is plain that the circumstances are entirely different and he is cherry picking a single convenient data point. I am capable of agreeing with you occasionally, you know.


        • Guest Who says:

          ‘ I am capable of agreeing with you occasionally, you know’

          Accepted with same grace offered.
          Assuming it was directed at me and not Alan or a more generic site deal.
          One is sure Albaman can work it out if not.


  8. Amounderness Lad says:

    All is easily explained. Ovo have a special tariff which they sell as being “All Green” and also have an ordinary tariff which is sold as having a larger Green input than the UK average. In other words they tick all the right BBC Greeny Boxes.
    What Ovo don’t brag about is that they also have a greater input from that nasty CO2 producing coal than the UK average.
    Naturally, by saying exactly what the BBC wants to hear, that the nasty, big, capitalist power suppliers are ripping everybody off, in line with Labour Party mantra, the BBC will give them an opening to get free national advertising.
    Sounds very much like a case of “I’ll scratch your back if you ‘ll scratch mine”,


    • Doublethinker says:

      I agree. It is just one more example, they occur daily, of the BBC allowing unchallenged comment from ‘independent’ bodies that follows the BBC line, or rather the liberal left elite consensus, which the BBC represents. This can be from energy prices, food banks, economic topics , immigration, the list is long. Of course opponents of the BBC view get severely challenged on all points and often misrepresented.
      Anyone , including Tory MPs, who thinks that the BBC is fair, accurate, honest and impartial , as its Charter demands it to be, must be a muppet.
      The BBC undermines our democracy a little further every day.


      • Guest Who says:

        “…Tory MPs, who thinks that the BBC is fair, accurate, honest and impartial , as its Charter demands it to be, must be a muppet”
        They can then expect a call from Ian Katz and promise of an easy ride. But probably still wise to watch their backs even once clear of the Newsnight studio.
        These days true power comes from the slide of a fader in the edit suite.


    • deception says:

      Agree with post, always an astute answer to blame the energy companies. The global cap n trade tax, stealthed on top of the consumer prices. And then the swag is splt with high corporate intrests. So maybe they can save us from earths biosphere, and now they can dictate on the rights of the earths enviromental causes, why not? They’re already claim earths minerals belong to the certain corporate interests, so why should they not tax you for earths natural fertilizer for plants, Co2?

      Maybe for the usless eaters, who can’t afford to keep up with their breathing tax, should just freeze to death this winter.


  9. Dave666 says:

    The BBc are always advertising. This morning I’ve watched a piece concerning Childline and at the moment they are plugging Leo Sayers new cd.


  10. Popeye says:

    Its one thing talking about rises in the wholesale price of electricity being mainly responsible for the rise in consumer prices, with a smaller element being due to the government’s green policies. But what is it that is driving up the wholesale price of electricity? Is it the government’s green policies of phasing out coal power plants?