No rest until 2030: Energy and water bills will keep soaring for 17 years, public spending watchdogs warn

National Audit Office predicts that the average household energy bill will rise by 66 per cent – from £1,290 this year to £2,135 by 2030

Gas, electricity and water bills will continue to rise by more than inflation for another 17 years, public spending watchdogs have warned.

The National Audit Office (NAO) blamed the price rises on the Government’s decision to load two-thirds of the £310bn cost of infrastructure projects needed to maintain energy and water supplies on to customers’ bills rather than fund them through taxation.

It predicted that the average household energy bill will rise by 66 per cent – from £1,290 this year to £2,135 by 2030. Water bills will vary around the country but could jump by 80 per cent – from £388 this year to £698 in 2030.

The NAO said the investment projects are needed but criticised the Government for not coming clean about the impact on bills. It expressed concern that the poorest families would not be able to cope with the rising cost of energy and water. Some 8 per cent of average household spending now goes on energy and water, but for those in the bottom 10 per cent of the income scale, the proportion is 15 per cent, said the NAO.

Its strong criticism is embarrassing for ministers, who are embroiled in a war of words with the “big six” energy companies about their price rises. The report could undermine claims that the firms are profiteering and bolster the companies’ argument that the increases stem largely from government policy.

Yesterday, the French firm EDF announced that its prices will rise by 3.9 per cent. This is significantly less than the rises announced by rivals, but it warned that more increases could come if the Government does not back down on so-called green levies.

The NAO said: “Government has made no assessment of the overall impact of infrastructure on future bills or whether those bills will be affordable.” It added: “The Government and regulators do not know how much in total the new infrastructure might cost consumers. Nor do they know whether consumers, particularly those on low incomes, will be able to afford the additional costs.”

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, said: “I have serious concerns the Government is taking decisions on infrastructure, banking on hard-pressed consumers to foot the bill, without knowing whether households will be able to afford to pay.”

Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, told energy firms at their own conference yesterday that customers “look at the big suppliers and see the greed that consumed the banks”.

Energy companies pointed to research suggesting that 95 per cent of the price rises to 2020 would be due to government-imposed levies and network costs. But Angela Knight, chief executive of Energy UK, admitted: “We have got a problem – an image problem, a reputational problem, a trust problem. Trust is hard to gain and it’s easy to lose.”

A Government spokesman said: “Decades of underinvestment have left the UK struggling with insufficient energy infrastructure, but we are committed to fixing the failures of previous governments, and to making the difficult decisions that will allow us to have the infrastructure we need.”

News
Alex Salmond said he accepted 'the democratic verdict of the people'
newsSNP leader says Scotland must move forward as 'one nation'
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery Assistant Plymouth

£10000 - £20000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week