DECC policies are cushioning rising energy bills, says Davey

New analysis published today highlights the extent to which the government’s energy and climate change policies are tempering the impact on household energy bills of global gas prices and network costs, says DECC.

According to today’s research, householders are paying on average £64 or 5 percent less for their gas and electricity bills as a result of energy and climate change policies compared to if no policies had existed, and in 2020 the net saving against the do-nothing scenario will reach £166 or 11 percent. 

Publishing ‘Estimated impacts of energy and climate change policies on energy prices and bills’, ministers have pledged to do even more to help people and businesses struggling with high energy bills caused by long-term rising gas prices.

Energy secretary, Ed Davey, said: “Global gas price hikes are squeezing households.  They are beyond any Government’s control and, by all serious predictions, are likely to continue rising.

“We are doing all we can to offset these global energy price rises, and while we have more to do, this new study shows our policies are putting a cushion between global prices and the bills we all pay.

“The analysis shows that our strategy of shifting to alternatives like renewables, and of being smarter with how we use energy, is helping those that need it most save money on their bills.

“The poorest who take advantage of the help that is available through the initiatives we have on offer stand to make the highest savings, from the Warm Home Discount to our new regulation on energy firms to force them to improve the energy efficiency of fuel poor households.

“The analysis underlines the importance of pressing ahead with the range of steps we’re taking to decarbonise and insulate our economy from excessive reliance on imported gas.

“The picture for businesses is less positive, which is why our new proposals to exempt and compensate the most energy intensive industries from certain policy impacts is crucial.  Nothing would be gained from forcing industry, jobs and emissions abroad.

“The move to a low-carbon power sector is bringing thousands of jobs to every corner of the country today, and will continue to do so. Last year we saw 20,000 new jobs in the renewables sector alone. This is driving growth through our supply chains and for businesses across the UK.

“This analysis is an important exercise in transparency.  It’s based on the most comprehensive evidence available.  I hope it will lead to far a more informed debate about the benefits of our energy and climate change strategy.”

REA chief executive, Gaynor Hartnell, added: “The cost of energy may be rising but households and businesses can take positive steps to limit bill increases with efficiency measures and investment in on-site renewables.

“Predicting future fossil fuel costs in a volatile international market is fraught with uncertainties. Investment in energy infrastructure is essential, as is the switch to renewable energy. Government intervention on both new generation and demand reduction should save households money overall. That’s got to be good news for the UK’s future security and prosperity.”

RenewableUK’s chief executive, Maria McCaffery, said: “These official figures prove that when gas prices shoot up, the fuel bills that land on the doormats of over 26 million UK households go through the roof. During this cold weather, today’s report offers a very timely reminder of the high price we’re all having to pay for our dependence on eye-wateringly expensive fossil fuels.

“The figures are quite clear for all to see – if we switch to more renewables to generate electricity, the cost is much lower. We can control that cost rather than leaving ourselves exposed to the wild fluctuations of international fossil fuel prices. Home-grown renewables such as wind gives us a very important asset: energy security at a price we can predict.

“Just last week the official regulator Ofgem highlighted how low the cost of wind energy is –  less than 3p per household per day. Today’s new figures show that the measures being taken by the Department of Energy and Climate Change to encourage investment in renewables, and to use energy more efficiently, are already keeping household bills 5 per cent lower than they would have been without those policies. In 2020, the savings will be even greater, with bills 11% lower as a result of green measures. So whenever we invest in building a low-carbon economy, using technologies such as wind, wave and tidal energy, the dividends we reap are enormous, in economic as well as environmental terms.”