The cost of supporting new windfarms and nuclear power stations to meet the UK's carbon targets will add nearly £100 to the average household energy bill by the end of the next decade, according to a government adviser. But the Committee on Climate Change said it expected the increase to be more than offset by savings as people switched to more efficient fridge freezers, LED bulbs and better boilers. The committee, a body of experts set up under the Climate Change Act to advise the government, found that a rise of £105, or 9%, to the average £1,160 dual fuel bill in 2016 was down to green policies. These included subsidies for windfarms and solar power through schemes such as the Renewables Obligation. A report by the committee predicts that meeting the UK's carbon targets would see the cost of the subsidies rise to £200 of an average bill of £1,350 by 2030.
About 2.5 million E.ON customers will pay an extra £97 a year on energy bills in what consumer groups have branded a "monstrous" and "crippling" blow for householders. The company's 8.8% price rise for customers on a dual-fuel standard tariff from the end of next month is the second highest increase among several announced recently by rivals, including a 9.8% rise by npower, 7.8% by Scottish Power and 1.2% by EDF. The E.ON move prompted the government to renew warnings that it will act if the energy market is shown to be working against consumers. "Wherever markets are not working for consumers, this government is prepared to act," said a spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. "We expect energy companies to treat their customers fairly and continue to be concerned by these price rises which will hit millions of people already paying more than they need to."
The home of the future looks an increasingly attractive place to live this week, after millions of households received the unwelcome news that their energy bills were going up again. Switching supplier is one quick fix to rising bills. But in the long run, industry players say the answers may lie in a coming revolution in how we use energy in our homes, turning them into mini power stations and reducing our reliance on energy companies such as British Gas and EDF. For consumers, cost and convenience will be big factors. For energy firms, there is a chance to rebuild trust and transform themselves from mere suppliers into more profitable service companies.
The renewables industry and green groups have accused ministers of striking a major blow against household solar power after the government said a green energy subsidy scheme would end next year without a replacement. The closure of the feed-in tariff (FIT) to new applicants from next April marks the final chapter for the scheme, which has encouraged more than 800,000 households to install solar panels since it was launched in 2010. Solar installations had already largely dried up after the incentives were cut drastically in 2016, but renewables advocates had hoped a replacement would take its place. On Thursday, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy made clear there would be no extension or new alternative. "Today's confirmation that there will be no replacement for the feed-in tariff is a major blow to small-scale renewables in the UK," said Emma Pinchbeck, executive director at RenewableUK.