September 25, 2013

Let's go for lower energy prices then

Everyone knows Ed Miliband wants a freeze on energy prices. Might it lead to a winter freeze in our homes? Astonishingly, Labour doesn't seem to have a prepared view on that.

FT blogger Nick Butler suggests (£) that
Having made energy costs the priority politicians will have to face up to the fundamental trade off with plans for emissions reductions. You can have low emissions or low prices. You cannot have both unless wind or nuclear prices can be forced down which looks impossible.
For the UK to curb carbon dioxide emissions looks pointless with our winter temperatures falling recently - doubly pointless if you don't think carbon dioxide affects temperatures much anyway (which seems increasingly likely). So yes, let's chop the emissions measures.

There's more that can be done. The energy companies have a problem of trust, as pointed out on today's Daily Politics. As a start, they need to make their billing transparent.

Nick Grealy has blogged on that, for instance here, where he recommends the arrangements in the States:
  1. Consumers pay a default tariff, based on a transparent cost of service and a floating monthly average gas and electricity price pegged to wholesale markets

  2. A combination of technology and sufficient workforce means the vast majority of consumers are billed on accurate monthly reads

  3. A full choice is given to consumers who seek options to either fix prices or have a monthly payment plan aligned with floating prices - all at completely transparent formulas.
Labour specifically accused the energy companies of being quick to raises prices when wholesale costs rose, but slow to cut them when the wholesale market fell (the same accusation which is made against petrol companies).

Taking the sting from that accusation would be a start for the energy companies. And the government could claim political credit if it pushed them to increase transparency.

So let's cut energy bills. Let's cut the cost of living for once!


James Higham said...

Part of the agenda, the high prices.

Elby the Beserk said...

It's not just winter temperatures.

and winter temperatures are down by 1 degree since 2000. A fall that is greater than the rise that created the global warming cult.