Inside, E.ON’s chief Tony Cocker revealed he dislikes the phrase “Big Six”, while later, the head of EDF Energy Vincent de Rivaz insisted there isn’t a “cartel”.
But that’s exactly what hundreds of protestors outside the Economist’s UK Energy Summit yesterday were complaining about.
Some dressed up as Robin Hood, complete with Sherwood green tights and caps at jaunty angles. They said it was time to take back from the rich and give to the poor – by cutting energy bills.
Others at the protest were clad in black Grim Reaper robes and hoods, carrying scythes, angry with the Government (and energy firms) for continuing to use nuclear power.
Oblivious to this, meanwhile, back in the warmth of the conference’s hotel venue, the chairman of Shell UK Graham van’t Hoff said that there was definitely a role for nuclear alongside renewables -and of course, the obligatory gas.
This view wouldn’t have gone down well with those outside, where more than thirty policemen had protestors kettled in a containment zone.
No, for the people wearing dinosaur costumes and carrying inflatable T-Rex’s, the UK’s impending ‘dash for gas’ wasn’t a popular choice. To them, the idea of a “Fossil Free” UK was the only agreeable one.
Instead, the merry, brave, mad band of fancy dressers with their cluttered message seemed agreed upon two things: renewable energy is best; energy bills should come down.
After listening to speakers inside the summit mulling over the messy state of our energy policy, it doesn’t look as if those two things will ever square easily.
Maybe with a bit more utopian dancing, protesting and chanting, they might get closer. Just please, protestors – next time, come with one coherent message. Our muddled energy sector can’t take any more confusion.