Last autumn was a turbulent time for the energy sector, not to mention its customers. With the majority of the ‘big six’ announcing inflation-busting price hikes of around 10 per cent and the subsequent publication of ever increasing profit margins, it is safe to say that the energy sector’s popularity is at rock bottom.
The result of the price rises is also having ramifications when it comes to improving sustainability. Just this week it was announced that the government is to reform ECO – Energy Company Obligations – in return for limiting the planned price rises and subsequently saving around £50 off each energy bill. As a result, the deadline to insulate homes is to be extended by a further two years while focus is on using cheaper insulation products. Meanwhile, obligations to insulate hard to treat homes will be eased and the warm home discount that helps some elderly customers will come from taxation rather than customer bills.
Energy cost and justification is a debate that is going to rumble on indefinitely, stuck in a vicious circle of private profit versus party politics versus squeezed household budgets versus the environment and minimising energy consumption.