Ministers were under pressure last night to ease the burden of hidden green charges on soaring fuel bills. Calls for complete moratorium on green energy legislation.
According to energy regulator Ofgem, the UK’s climate change policies add £100 – or nearly 10 per cent – to a typical household fuel bill.
Consumer groups and MPs say all energy suppliers should be forced to reveal on bills how much hard-pressed families are forced to pay to subsidise green energy and end Britain’s dependence on dirty coal, oil and gas.
Benny Peiser, director of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, called for hidden climate change levies to be slashed. He said: ‘If Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has his way, Britons will be forced to subsidise renewable energy by approximately £100billion in the next 20 years.
‘Electricity prices are likely to double as a direct result. Enough is enough.
‘The Government has to force energy companies to make electricity bills fully transparent so that the ever-increasing level of hidden green taxes are clearly listed for families and households
‘The Government should now consider a complete moratorium on green energy legislation that threatens to impose huge additional costs on all those who are already facing spiralling power bills.’
Last month, former Tory Chancellor Lord Lawson warned that the Coalition’s obsession with climate change was damaging Britain’s recovery from recession.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Lord Lawson said: ‘The Government’s highly damaging decarbonisation policy, enshrined in the absurd Climate Change Act, does not have a leg to stand on. It is intended, at massive cost, to be symbolic: To make good David Cameron’s ambition to make his administration “the greenest government ever”.’
His comments came after former Civil Service chief Lord Turnbull accused ministers and officials of pandering to global warming ‘alarmists’ and piling huge, unnecessary costs on ordinary families.
Under the Climate Change Act, the Government is legally bound to cut Britain’s carbon dioxide emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 and by 50 per cent by 2025. Ministers want the UK to meet the targets by building 10,000 wind turbines in the next decade.
They also want power companies to install £7billion worth of smart meters in homes to reduce demand, and to create a new generation of nuclear power plants. Most of the cost for the ‘decarbonisation’ is being passed on to consumers through their fuel bills.
None of the hidden climate change charges on bills is a conventional tax paid to the Treasury directly. Instead, they are additional costs passed on by power companies.
They include the Renewable Obligation – a scheme that forces power suppliers to buy a proportion of their power from renewable sources such as wind.
Bills are pushed up further by the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target – which forces energy suppliers to subsidise home insulation and new boilers – and by Feed In Tariffs, which encourage homes to install wind turbines and solar panels by guaranteeing a fixed, high price for electricity they sell to the National Grid.
Consumers also pay more for electricity under the European Emissions Trading Scheme, which forces energy companies and industries to pay for the right to burn fossil fuels.
Climate change levies are expected to be reviewed next week in the Government’s energy White Paper.
Labour MP Graham Stringer called for greater transparency.
‘Many of the climate levies on our bills are regressive taxes,’ he said. ‘They are not reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
‘The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is a scam – it just transfers emissions from Britain to China and India where they don’t have to follow the same pollution laws.
‘We are not stopping CO2 and then we have to transport the goods here, emitting even more carbon dioxide.
‘These policies have to be re-examined. And we have to work out why we are the only country in the world that has a legal obligation to cut CO2 by 80 per cent of its 1990 target. We are putting ourselves at a huge disadvantage.’
A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: ‘These levies are about developing new energy sources in the UK so we’re not hostage to the price of imported gas.
‘Put simply, scrapping them would be shooting ourselves in the foot and short-sighted in the extreme.’
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