Households will have to spend thousands of pounds buying new green appliances to benefit from the Government’s claims its policies are bringing down energy bills, it emerged last night.
The Government was accused of an “underhand” attempt to mask the cost of green energy and rising gas prices, after it claimed the net effect of all its policies will be a £166 reduction in bills by 2020.
Official estimates said replacing household appliances like washing machines and televisions could take £158 off the average bill, while new boilers could on average save £81 in energy costs.
Ministers claimed this would more than “offset” green taxes and subsidies, which are likely to contribute around £199 to the average bill by 2020.
Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, said the Government has “a duty to help keep bills down – and that’s what we’ve been doing”.
However, millions of households, especially older people, will not necessarily be replacing their appliances within the next seven years.
Many people choose to repair their old white goods when they go wrong or buy second hand ones that do not comply with the latest green standards.
Last night, Labour accused Mr Davey, of “cooking the books” as his claims to bring down bills will only be true if people splash out on new greener televisions, fridge-freezers, washing machines, dishwashers and gas-combi boilers.
Caroline Flint, the shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said the figures were a “shameful” and “underhand attempt” to mask the real impact of the Government’s policies on energy bills
“At a time when hard-pressed families and pensioners are seeing their incomes squeezed, only this out-of-touch Government could expect people to fork out thousands of pounds on new TVs, fridge freezers and washing machines,” she said.
“Instead of cooking the books to trick people into thinking their energy bills will be lower, Ministers should get behind Labour’s plans to overhaul the energy market and deliver fair prices for the public.”
The figures for estimated savings from energy efficiency were included in a new analysis by the Government.
It found that overall average bills are expected to go up from £1,255 this year to £1,331 in 2020 – an increase of £76. Bills are then expected to rise to £1,476 by 2030 – an increase of £221 on current levels.
This assumes that people take up “energy efficiency” measures, including buying new green gadgets and appliances. For people who choose not to, their bills will be hundreds of pounds higher.
The Government said people will naturally buy more efficient goods as European Union standards force greener products on to the market.
It estimates people have to replace their washing machine every 12 years, but data from the White Goods Trade Association suggests that a good quality appliance can last for 10,000 hours. People would need to use their machine for 15 hours a week to wear it out in this amount of time.
The new analysis also shows the cost of Britain’s green energy revolution is rising. The expected impact of four key green subsidies and taxes – the carbon price, Renewable Obligation Certificates, Feed-in Tariffs and Electricity Market Reform – has risen by a third.
In the last Government estimate, the impact on bills was expected to be £194 by 2030, but this has now risen sharply to £270 by that year.
By 2030, higher gas prices could also have added around £86, while bigger network costs could put on around £83.
Families are paying more for their energy because the Government is helping to pay for new nuclear power stations, wind farms and other renewable energy through their household bills.
Bills will go up for a combination of reasons, including the cost of green energy, higher gas prices and the extra costs of maintaining pipes and pylons.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding