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What is the real cost of low-carbon to typical household energy bills? – Media reaction

By Emily Towers, Communications Manager, CCC

Last week, we published our first comprehensive analysis of how household energy bills will be impacted by the costs of meeting carbon budgets.

Our aim on entering this debate was to fulfil our legal duties in this area (we have a statutory duty to report on fuel poverty under the Climate Change Act), and to add a dispassionate evidence-based analysis to an area where exaggerated claims are often made.

We found that over the past 5 years, bills have increased primarily as a result of the rising cost of wholesale gas. By 2020, our analysis suggests that paying for environmental policies to achieve a low-carbon economy will add around £100 to the typical household’s dual-fuel bill (gas & electric).

The £100 increase could be reduced down to zero if the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation are successful in rolling-out better insulation to homes and if people replace their old appliances with energy efficient models.

Our assessment therefore disproves often made claims that low carbon policies have contributed significantly to energy bill increases to date, and will result in further increases of hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

So, were we successful in getting our point across?

Media coverage of the report was generally well balanced and reported our findings correctly.

The BBC, Daily Express, Financial Times, Guardian, Daily Mirror, Press Association, Reuters, Telegraph, and Times all reflected our key messages: that energy bill increases from meeting carbon budgets could be up to £100, with lower increases if we are successful at implementing energy efficiency measures. David Kennedy, our CEO explained the ins and outs of our report findings on Today (listen again here).

Whilst the Daily Mail reported our projected increase in electricity prices, its coverage focused on energy bill impacts for households using electricity for heat. We say in the report that for these households, accounting for around 8% of the total, bill impacts will be more pronounced. We urge that impacts for the fuel poor using electricity for heating are addressed through the Affordable Warmth element of the Green Deal.

Finally, an article in the Spectator suggested that we have not set out our assumptions on technology costs and electricity demand in a transparent manner. In fact, our assumptions are set out in great detail in our Renewable Energy Review, as referenced in the report:

We were generally happy with the coverage received, and hope that our report will form the basis for honest debate and discussion in this important area.

Tell us what you think of the report – send us your comments: enquiries@theccc.gsi.gov.uk