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

IT Support Technician (2nd Line / Server Support) - Bedford

£24000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: 2nd line IT Support Techn...

Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a b...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...

Science Teacher

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Are you a qualified science t...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Ed Miliband on low pay; Alan Johnson on Betjeman; Tom Freeman on editing

John Rentoul
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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