ENERGY network giants handed shareholders a £13.4billion bonanza over the last five years – as heating bills rocketed.
The huge sum is enough to have given customers a price cut that would have saved every household £500 since 2014.
But the cash went in dividend payments to investors in companies which transport electricity and gas around the country.
Labour analysis shows that gas network, privatised in 1986, and the electricity network, sold off four years later, is hitting family budgets.
The equivalent of £98 from every British family is paid each year into the pockets of billionaires, a senior MP claims.
Shadow energy secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said: “These figures show Tory privatisation for what it is – a scam on the British public.
“With energy bills at record highs, how on earth is it acceptable that ordinary households are paying hundreds of pounds directly into the pockets of billionaires such as Warren Buffet and Li Ka-shing?”
Labour has vowed to bring the grid back into public ownership, lowering bills and investing in new infrastructure.
Energy firms announced a total of 57 price increases last year compared with 15 in 2017.
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RECORD HIGH BILLS
Some firms upped tariffs as many as three times across the year and several raised them twice. Altogether, an average of £74 was added to annual dual fuel bills.
The Energy Networks Association said: “Since 1990 network costs to the billpayer have fallen by 17 per cent. At the same time around £100billion of investment has been delivered by network companies.
“Turning the clock back to state-ownership would only cause massive cost and disruption and mean that the British public would miss out on the smarter, cleaner, more efficient energy system that we all agree is needed to keep our lights on, our homes warm and our carbon emissions down.”
ENA added: “In the last six years alone, network companies have invested over £22billion in gas and electricity grids across the country and provide jobs for 36,000 people.
“The UK is ranked globally seventh by the World Bank for ease of getting electricity. This is well above countries like the US and France. Between 2016 and 17 electricity generation in the UK from renewable sources connected to the networks increased by almost a fifth.”
Energy Minister Claire Perry said: “Labour’s plans to renationalise our energy networks would put investment at risk and mean higher bills for families and businesses.
“We will take no lectures from the party that presided over increases to electricity bills of 50 per cent. Labour cannot be trusted to deliver for hardworking families, and even their own advisers admit that renationalisation would cost taxpayers and billpayers billions.
“Through measures like our energy price cap, the Conservative Government will continue to protect people from unfair bill rises and make sure that the market works in the interests of hardworking families. Since privatisation, network costs have fallen significantly, customer satisfaction is up and power cuts have fallen.”