The package includes a new price freeze on household energy bills, effectively eliminating the £3,549 price cap due to come in October. Instead, the price cap has been frozen at £2,500 for the next two years from 1 October, which the Government believes will deliver a “pro-growth, pro-business and pro-investment approach for the country’s energy security”.
Also mentioned was a reverse on the fracking back and a new wave of licenses for oil and gas drilling. These, along with the decision not to introduce a windfall tax on energy firms and a complete lack of focus on built environment energy efficiency have been met with disappointment by green groups.
While the green economy has been quick to welcome immediate measures to reduce the swirling costs of energy, which were on course to surpass £3,000 next year, many have expressed disappointment as to a lack of measures to promote green solutions. Others are concerned as to how these price freezes will be funded.
Here edie rounds up the green reaction as it comes in.
Nick Wayth, chief executive Energy Institute
“Today’s news on consumer energy bills from the UK’s new PM, Lizz Truss, is welcome for the millions of households and businesses struggling to keep up with rising energy bills. It provides essential relief ahead of the coming winter months.
However, it’s only a temporary escape from underlying international gas prices which remain at record levels and are likely to do so for the foreseeable future. For the UK (and all countries) to have a secure, affordable and clean energy system, and escape the triple energy crisis for good, we also urgently need to see ministers put in place permanent solutions: to end energy waste through renewed and sustained investment in energy efficiency for homes and buildings; to accelerate the deployment of affordable, shovel-ready renewables and reform the market so those cost reductions feed through to the bills consumers pay and to decarbonise our use of oil and gas.”
Dr Carole Easton, Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better
“We are relieved that the new Prime Minister has responded to the severity of the crisis that is set to unfold this winter and is applying a remedy that goes some way to matching the magnitude of the problem.
“Even so, this is not the perfect solution for the most vulnerable who will see their energy costs doubling compared to last winter. This may well lead to miserable months of financial and personal hardship, including for a significant proportion of older households on fixed incomes. We want to see the government redoubling its efforts on awareness-raising around pension credits as 800,000 are still missing out on the additional cost of living support this provides. The government must ensure a two-year window of energy price stability and use it wisely to deal with a fundamental issue at the heart of the problem – the UK’s appallingly inefficient homes. We urgently need a national retrofit programme to make homes more energy efficient as part of a broader move to improve people’s homes.”
Justina Miltienyte, head of policy at Uswitch.com,
“With the pressure lifted for this winter, we welcome the announcement of an energy supply task force that must now sort out the structural problems of the wholesale energy market and how it interacts with the blunt price cap mechanism.
“Reforming the wholesale market goes hand-in-hand with reducing our dependence on non-renewable energy. Electricity prices can no longer be dictated by fossil fuels, especially gas, and it’s good to see a commitment to more quickly let customers benefit from the lower prices generated by renewables.
“Removing gas dependency would also protect households from a repeat of the most aggressive price shocks. The Government has made a start towards tackling the energy crisis, but now needs to work out how to make sure this never happens again.”
Jess Ralston, Senior Analyst with the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU)
“All the experts and even the industry agree more UK gas won’t bring down British bills. To bring down bills we need to use less gas by investing in insulating homes, a measure which could be cost neutral to the Treasury given it will spend billions on the price cap freeze.
“There is a real danger of the Government serving up a red herring with local communities likely to oppose fracking rigs while focus is diverted from efficiency and renewables which can be quick to introduce and are popular, rather than unpopular, with the public.”
Hannah Martin, Co Director of Green New Deal Rising
“This isn’t a real energy prize freeze if people’s bills are still rising to unaffordable levels and the cost is going to be paid by the public for years to come. We need a windfall tax now that puts cash back into people’s hands and public ownership that stop companies profiting off the public purse whilst ordinary people pay the price. The only way to deal with this crisis in the long term is a Green New Deal to rapidly get us off dirty and expensive gas and onto clean and home grown renewables whilst creating millions of good green jobs.
“New fracking and North Sea oil and gas will make flooding and droughts here and everywhere more likely, accelerating the climate emergency. That will be Liz Truss’ legacy and that is why movements like Green New Rising will be organising young people en masse to vote her out at the next election.”
Andy Prendergast, GMB National Secretary
“It is a stain on this Government that our nation’s energy supplies are in such a vulnerable state. The Tories have been in office for 12 years; their failures to build new nuclear power stations, to protect and utilise our gas storage capacity and willingness to engage in political groupthink on domestic on and offshore resources, means we are playing catch up in the race to defend ourselves against the global energy crisis.
“Today’s announcement only scratches the surface of what we need for long-term energy security.”
Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at Friends of the Earth,
“The government’s energy plan is farcical in its detachment from reality. It does nothing to tackle the root cause of the energy crisis – our reliance on costly, polluting fossil fuels – and only lines the pockets of the oil and gas companies driving the cost of living and climate emergencies.
“Most of us will be relieved about the cap on energy bills ahead of this winter but with energy, food and fuel costs remaining high many people will still struggle to heat their homes and put food on the table.
“To bring down bills for good, we need a street-by-street insulation programme targeted at the neighbourhoods where most homes are poorly insulated. There are five million homes without even basic insulation, such as loft or cavity wall insulation, and the Committee on Climate Change has said 15 million homes would benefit from other insulation measures.
“The biggest winners today are the oil and gas companies. Not only will they benefit from the green light for more fossil fuel extraction but the tens of billions of pounds of public expenditure on the energy cap will go into their pockets and further fuel their eye-watering profits.”
More to follow
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