Recently, you may read about the ‘hidden tax’ that’s adding an average of £84 a year onto our energy bills, which is being used to help Britain move towards a future where we use more renewable energy and fund the battle against climate change.
uSwitch also revealed that these charges could double to £176 within the space of 10 years – a suggestion which will probably worry a lot of people who are already feeling the pinch because of high energy bills and tough economic times.
We asked the public for their opinions on the issue. Our poll found that:
- 44% think that cutting carbon emissions and moving to greener energy sources has to be balanced against the impact it will have on their bills
- 22% said that making energy more affordable has to be the priority, rather than the environment
- 30% told us that they think the cost should be shared by the government, industry, consumers and businesses
- 14% think that they thought the levies should be applied as a proportionate charge on energy bills e.g. the more energy you use, the more you pay. Which will reward low energy users for making less of an impact on the environment
Ann Robinson, our director of consumer policy, commented: “ If consumers are to be expected to meet these costs then there has to be clarity over what these ‘hidden taxes’ are for, a cap set on how much consumers will end up paying and transparency over how the levies are being applied.”
She added: “The important thing though is for consumers to grasp the longer-term implications of these levies – the only way household energy bills are going is up. It is crucial that we now all take steps to become more energy efficient and to ensure that we are paying the lowest possible price for our energy. This will help to mitigate the impact on our bills. I would also urge consumers to speak to their supplier to find out what support they can offer – part of the tax on our bills goes towards funding suppliers’ energy efficiency programmes and they may qualify for help.”
Managing the competing demands of finding sustainable energy sources for the future and keeping energy affordable in the present was always going to be tough. To me, it seems inevitable that there will have to a financial cost to pay now, so that we don’t pay the environmental price later. However, opinions differ on this issue vastly- do you think that these environmental taxes are unnecessary? Or perhaps you think that the cost investing in our energy infrastrusture shouldn’t be covered by the public? I’d love to hear your thoughts!