In amongst all the hoo ha of the last few weeks, about rising energy bills and Big Six profiteering – we’ve frequently heard about people who struggle to pay their energy bills, lower income households, the fuel poor.
Sometimes in the context of what Cameron calls ‘green levies’ – the social elements of that melting pot being the ECO scheme (insulation for lower income homes) and the Warm Home Discount (lower bills for older people). We’ve also heard how 30k people are expected to die this winter due to being unable to afford to heat their homes. And of course politicians of all hues have professed their concern for that and the affordability of energy more generally, which impacts most on the less well off among us.
The Big Six have social obligations in this regard, which require them to spend considerable sums each year – though this week the key one, ECO, was watered down (cut in half) and the Warm Homes one seems destined to move into general taxation.
But on the other hand, they appear to have been ripping off those same households – well at least any of them that use a Pre Payment Meter (which I think will be most of them).
There are some four million homes in Britain with a Pre Payment Meter (PPM) for electricity and three million for gas. And they pay the highest prices for their energy of anyone in this country – on average 6% or £80 per year more, for dual fuel, than a customer paying by Direct Debit. (more…)
It’s been a crazy few weeks in the Energy sector, nobody could have missed that.
The issue of rising energy bills comes up at the start of most winters it seems – but it did so with a real bang this year. Ed Miliband kicked things off with his pledge to freeze bills, the Big Six joined in by putting them up – and threatening blackouts if Ed tries it – and David Cameron rounded things off with his own contribution – which was to point the finger at ‘Green levies’ and pledge to roll them back.
Good stuff as the panto season approaches… 🙂 Or is it more than that?
The Green levies that Cameron is targeting, 60% of which his government imposed, have had a lot of media exposure – from the usual suspects, following the usual narrative; green energy is expensive, ineffective and is at the root of rising energy bills (I think that sums it up fairly). Oh no – I missed out the Climate Change isn’t real anyway bit…
But calling these costs green isn’t right, not quite honest. The biggest among them (at £47) is a scheme to put energy efficiency measures into lower income households – it’s a social measure known by it’s acronym ECO (Energy Company Obligation), which no doubt aids confusion. (more…)
Images of people protesting against Fracking this summer brought back a host of memories for me. I’ve done some protesting in my time. Most notably as part of a group that occupied the USAF base at Molesworth, for a year or so, to prevent the siting of cruise missiles there. Our eventual eviction, by more squaddies than it took to take Goose Green, made the back page of the Guardian, and I remember coming face to face with Michael Heseltine as he stepped off his chopper in flak jacket and make-up ready for the TV cameras – who could forget that.
The Americans never did station their cruise missiles at Molesworth and I’d like to think that what we did played a part in that – but who can know. (more…)
Ed Miliband made a headline grabbing speech this week – the bit that grabbed my attention, and that of much of the media, was the promise to freeze energy prices for 20 months and ‘reset the energy market’.
It’s hard to argue with the premise that there’s something wrong with the energy market – the mostly foreign owned privatised Oligopoly that has a 97% market share and perhaps an inversely proportional share of public trust.
I believe that there’s a fundamental mismatch between the needs of society and those of private companies. A clash between the need to re-invest and the need to pay dividends. I think privatisation is therefore at the root of the problem. It worked well enough while the new private energy companies could operate (quite profitably) the assets built by public money, but stumbles when those assets need renewal. (more…)
It’s an interesting date and I’m a fan of it. Partly I suppose because I’m ‘anti superstitious’.
And partly because it’s the date of two important birthdays; of a son and a windmill.
Friday the 13th of December 1996 – is a day I remember well, the day we installed our very first windmill after a five-year planning battle. The year Ecotricity got going.
They don’t come often, but there’s another Friday the 13th December coming this year, 17 years later – and that first windmill is still going strong.
As is Ecotricity.
Our mission remains the same: to turn our customers’ Bills into Mills and change where Britain’s energy comes from.
And this year we made big strides in that direction, with planning permission to build one of the biggest wind parks in England. It’s big enough to almost double our current fleet of windmills – matching the last 17 years’ work in one go. And it’ll make a significant contribution to Britain’s energy independence, powering almost 40,000 homes for the next 25 years.
That’s Bills into Mills at its best yet.
There are two other big changes this year. (more…)
This year Ecotricity partnered with WOMAD – and helped turn ‘Molly’s Bar’ into ‘Molly’s Green Bar.
As part of the event, Ecotricity hosted a debate between Jasmijn De Boo of the Vegan Society and Aine Morris of the Sustainable Food Trust, which was chaired by John Drowley. Essentially – it was about whether animals have any role to play in sustainable agriculture, a topic we’ve touched upon before on here.
Both Aine and Jasmijn have kindly provided a summary of their main points here for your delectation – let us know who you think had the most convincing argument in the comments?
This blog is about answers to the big questions - how will we keep the lights on, what kind of cars will we drive (will we drive?) and how will we feed ourselves - in a post oil world, and a world where we can't afford to keep burning things and throwing things away. Energy, Transport and Food are the three big issues.