Today in the UK, a significant milestone has reached now that the cheapest gas and electricity combination tariff for UK homes has hit £1,000 per annum, after above-inflation price rises by the big six energy suppliers.
Unfortunately, 8 out of 10 householders will be forced to start rationing their home’s energy use by managing without adequate heating, according to a survey of 2,300 people. This situation comes at a time when this year’s winter is predicted to be harsh.
Stuart Lovatt, the founder of Power My Home, says “We have been campaigning against fuel poverty for the last six years and it is said that the UK is now on the brink of a energy affordability crisis when it comes to domestic energy costs.”
The unfortunate milestone of the £1,000 bills was reached today when Scottish Power removed a £990 dual fuel tariff from the energy market to new customers. This situation continues the trend where all the cheapest energy tariffs are gradually getting de-listed, resulting in costing under £1000 per year for an average home.
Stuart advises “We always advise energy customers to sign up only to a fixed-term deal, preferably before the winter sets in, to keep energy costs down and we will continue to ask for better government regulation to make energy tariffs less complicated and easier to understand.”
The lowest current deal on the market for new customers is now EDF’s Energy Discount Plan v5 which costs around £1,024 a year, based on an average home usage of 16,500 (kWh) of gas and 3,300 (kWh) of electricity.
In a separate survey by uSwitch, consumer attitudes towards rising energy bills were that 7 out of 10 people think that the Government has not struck the right balance between keeping bills low and green taxes.
Although, the Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has already concluded: “the way we produce and think about energy has to change, to prevent Britain being at the mercy of any international energy suppliers and unreliable sources.”
Stuart Lovatt adds “The surge in renewable energy investment, such as solar panels, is not only about environmental issues, but about energy security in the long-term. Doing nothing is not an option to prevent further crippling price shocks in the future.”
A £200 billion investment program such as the feed-in tariff is expected to help homes and businesses who have installed solar panels, thereby dampening the effects of international prices over the next decade. This type of technology, with its long lifespan, is a long-term solution.
As already stated, the current average home energy bill is now £1293 per year. Once bills hit £1,500, eighty per cent of households will possibly say that they will start rationing their fuel usage.
Unfortunately, fuel poverty is already a reality for many people. The tragedy of this situation is that there are no quick or cheap fixes to the problem of high international energy prices yet, but the real tragedy is that successive governments have all been aware that this day would come and should have made the necessary investments long ago.
6 out of 10 households will now struggle to afford an increase of as little as £30 a month in the current economic climate. Just like our railway infrastructure, governments only invest when it’s too late, and as a result, everybody suffers.