Peter Hoskin

The high cost of energy

The high cost of energy
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According to a new Ofgem report, rising fuel prices are behind a trebling in the number of homes disconnected by power companies over the past two years.  And what lies behind rising fuel prices?  Well, according to energy companies, around 50 per cent of the rises can be attributed to new costs – especially green taxes – imposed by the Treasury.  The sad link between environmental measures and public impoverishment looks set to continue for the forseeable future – compliance with new European Commission environmental proposals will see a 15 percent rise in rise in electricity bills.

Regardless of whether or not its necessary in the first place, it's becoming clearer that the green tax programme hasn't been thought through properly.  Whilst the Government has claimed that green taxes and other environmental measures will be targeted at big business rather than consumers, the hasty manner in which these costs have been imposed means that they are trickling down to the public.  Whenever a massive cost comes almost out of nowhere (as widespread environmental measures did in 2007), companies will always seek to absorb it by raising the prices of their product. 

This situation could have been avoided via an extended period of discussion with business leaders, followed by a slow roll-out of green taxes and compensatory measures over a number of years.  Of course, there's the counter-argument that the environment can't wait on discussion, but when thousands of elderly people are dying because they can't afford heating costs, a little more forethought could well have gone a long way.