Blog > It’s time for the Government to turn its attention to energy consumers

 

It’s time for the Government to turn its attention to energy consumers

Thursday 14th July 2011

This week, energy secretary Chris Huhne outlined a radical reform of the electricity market, coinciding with the publication of the Government’s Electricity Market Reform (EMR) White Paper. 

The paper, “Planning our electric future: a White Paper for secure, affordable and low-carbon electricity” looks to set out key measures to attract investment, reduce the impact on consumer bills, and create a secure mix of electricity sources. 

While Huhne’s speech primarily focused on long-term investment and measures to build a cleaner, more sustainable energy future, my interest was on how the reforms ‘reduce the impact on consumer bills’.

The Telegraph’s headline presents a stark warning that Britain must get used to price rises on fuel bills or face blackouts”. But according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, introducing the reforms will help to mitigate energy price rises in the future, as leaving the current system in place would cost households £200 a year, compared to £160 under the reforms.  

One thing is clear; the EMR won’t stop a rise in energy prices. And this could be a bitter pill for the nation to follow, on the back of price rises from British Gas and Scottish Power.

The £110bn of investment in new power stations and energy networks may well ensure a platform for Britain to build a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. But with reports abound in the media of fuel poverty and imminent price rises from more energy providers, Huhne’s announcement may do little to appease the public. 

It’s time for the Government to turn its attention to energy consumers. Working with energy providers, it needs to support households and assist in their bid to reduce the impact of high energy bills.  The Government has set out clear goals and targets to build a sustainable, low carbon economy. Ensuring consumer buy-in will be essential. 

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