Ed Davey's vision of a low-carbon future will increase energy bills. Didn't he just say he wanted to keep prices low?

This revamp to the UK's energy infrastructure is needed, but we could do without the hypocrisy at the heart of the DECC

Share
Related Topics

It’s hardly surprising that Energy Secretary Ed Davey’s outline for Britain’s low-carbon future should be accompanied by a jaw-dropping price tag; yet placing the bulk of that cost upon the shoulders of customers exposes a blatant hypocrisy taking place at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

In just one week, the Energy Secretary has adopted two utterly conflicting policies. On the one hand he is wagging his finger at energy suppliers for raising bills by around £100 per year, and then on the other hand – and just a few days later - he mandates that bills increase an additional £100 per year.

According to his Advisory Committee, Mr Davey’s upgrades to the UK’s power grid will cost bill payers a cool £7.6bn, a result of allowing domestic energy suppliers to increase the average customer’s bill by around £100 per year.

True enough, the UK is in need of a few revamps to its ageing electrical infrastructure – yet critics are justifiably calling the move a substantial risk at best. More relevant still is the timing; this announcement of a Government-sponsored price hike arrives just one week after the Energy Secretary chastised suppliers for raising prices via his proposal to somehow magically cap domestic rates on behalf of the consumer.

Following David Cameron’s off-the-cuff promise in October that his Government would seek to protect customers from soaring energy bills, Mr Davey frantically proposed legislation last week that will stifle competition within the energy industry by limiting suppliers to just four tariffs, as well as demanding that customers are automatically placed on their supplier’s cheapest tariff. In truth, the Coalition’s intentions here seem sound – yet their methodology is embarrassingly flawed.

Not only do the majority of domestic suppliers already have less than four tariffs, but Mr Davey’s proposal has effectively given the big six energy suppliers the go-ahead to substantially increase their standard rates within the next two to three years. Assuming all customers are automatically transferred to their supplier's cheapest tariff, the suppliers would be forced to charge customers a minimum of £1,210.79 per year in order to match their current average turnarounds. Many energy customers are already paying less than that.

As fate would have it, this gaffe of a Bill has been directly followed by today’s latest proposal, which dictates that Britain’s green future will begin with a £100 annual hike in household energy bills. This prompts a worrying question: whose side is the Government on?

It’s rather difficult to assess Westminster’s true level of sympathy with regards to the plight of average bill payer – especially considering that, by year’s end, the majority of UK energy customers will have been exposed to annual dual fuel increases of 6 -11 per cent. Prior to said hikes, domestic prices had already increased 19 per cent in 12 months. Where was Ed Davey with his misguided proposals then?

At this point, it seems fair to say that Westminster is truly unable to wrap its head around the basic nature of its thriving domestic energy market. Investing in renewables is extremely vital to the future stability of the UK’s power infrastructure – yet is it wise to actively pursue this path if it can only be attained by forcing Britain’s homeowners to choose between heating and eating? Ed Davey’s Energy Bill will spell ruin for the nation’s ever-increasing number of families that are edging ever closer to fuel poverty. The DECC would do well to recognise this impact and amend the Bill’s funding accordingly. Unfortunately, with Mr Davey’s recent track record on energy proposals, it’s looking like that won’t happen.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Newspaper stands have been criticised by the Child Eyes campaign  

There were more reader complaints this year – but, then again, there were more readers

Will Gore
 

People drink to shut out pain and stress. Arresting them won’t help

Deborah Coughlin
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced