When it comes to energy policy, the battle lines have been drawn. Yet the debate continues to return to whether we want an affordable solution or a green solution. It is often claimed, we can’t have both. But we can.
In fact, this must be the dual test all of our green policies – they must meet the needs of consumers by helping them to drive down bills as well as meeting our environmental commitments.
We believe the Chancellor can have his cake and eat it – delivering energy efficiency policies that are both green and lean – when he delivers his Autumn Statement next week.
Our analysis shows that there are changes that can be made immediately which mean we help the same number of fuel poor households, meet our carbon targets and streamline the costs that are passed onto consumers.
Cut the cost of Government energy policies
So far almost 43,000 people have backed our campaign calling on the Chancellor to cut the cost of Government energy policies, while helping the same number of households as last year to make their homes better insulated, by:
- Re-targeting the Energy Company Obligation (ECO): too much is focused on expensive measures. If the Carbon Savings Obligation prioritised low cost measures in the short term instead, it could save between £242m-£363m a year, help at least the same number of households and still meet its carbon targets.
- Scrapping the carbon floor price: it is an unnecessary burden on consumers that does nothing to incentivise low carbon energy production and increases wholesale costs. This would take in the region of £1 billion off bills next year.
- Halting the smart meter roll out: it is a £12bn luxury we cannot currently afford. We should pause for two years, put a cap on the costs and decide how to make the roll out as cost effective as possible. This would save almost £80m a year for two years.
- Taking the Warm Home Discount off consumers’ bills: this could cut bills by over £290m a year.
Help those under pressure
These changes could potentially save consumers up to £1.8 billion per year – that’s around £68 off the annual average household bill a year.
Making these changes would not only give the Government time to come to a sustainable and effective long term solution but deliver value for money on inefficient policies and help those under pressure right now.
Successive governments have failed with their energy efficiency policies and while it’s estimated that this will have cost around £8.4bn by 2015, still more than half of Britain’s 27 million homes are without adequate insulation.
There is an opportunity here for the Chancellor to put this right.
So next week, when George Osborne stands up to deliver his Autumn Statement we want him to stand up for the millions of hard-pressed consumers who are grappling day-to-day with rising energy costs. And we want him to show we don’t have to choose between green and lean.