Designed to keep the country’s lights on and harmful emissions low, the British government recently published details of its upcoming Energy Bill. However, households will bear the brunt of the government’s green thinking, as the bill will allow energy companies like Eon and British Gas to squeeze homeowners for an additional £7.6bn all the way up to 2020.
This financial push on the environment will hopefully encourage the development of sustainable, reusable and low carbon power, although the government has delayed the finalisation 2030 carbon emission targets until after the next election. Not only has this hike in household bills driven fear into the general public, but the delay on carbon emission targets has even put-off some investors regarding new power plant investment.
A spokesperson from the government commented that reforms are absolutely needed to install calm and certainty to current and potential investors. Over £110 billion worth of investment is needed in the country’s energy structure to keep the lights on, and the government wants to steer parts of this investment into sustaining a low-carbon economy.
Investment vs. Expenditure
According to the UK’s independent advisory committee, the £7.6bn climate change investment will add over £100 to the everyday homeowner’s energy bill by 2020. The Department for Energy and Climate Change however, believes that a rise of around 7 per cent – or about £80-90 – is more likely. In the long run, it is believed the hike in prices and bills will eventually save the public money, while also reducing the effects we have on the environment.
Condemning the bill, environmentalists believe the public are being made to suffer for the government’s lack of initiative, and that a 2030 emission target is simply not good enough. Not only will this target make it extremely difficult for the UK to meet its own laws on climate change, but business and the amount they contribute to the economy will also be affected.
Commenting on the impact of all these extra costs, the Energy Intensive Users Group believes that more needs to be done to mitigate the effect on firms – the loss of over 900 jobs are Tata Steel a prime example. Although the EIUG backs the government on the latest energy bill, they also want to ensure that their faith in the bill will not be undermined by the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry – domestically and internationally.
Consumer groups have also revealed their warranted concern about the bill, stating that the public are again at a major disadvantage. They believe that with the introduction of the energy bill, the entire cost of the country’s environmental rehabilitation will be paid for through higher consumer bills. Furthermore, the extra revenue raised through the new energy bill should be pumped back into a system to reduce household bills.
EDF energy is one of the few major power companies that are happy with the bill, as they plan to build two nuclear power stations on the west coast. However due to uncertain emission targets, most energy firms are unwilling to invest in expanding their businesses.
Written on behalf of Hughes Carlisle solicitors Liverpool – they look to offer valuable insights on all aspects of the countries economy by reviewing legislation changes made by the government.