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The ‘hidden’ climate change tax: should we pay now or pay later?

A ‘hidden tax’ is adding £84 onto energy bills to help fight climate change.

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!

  • Hi
    There should be no hidden charges
    Consumers are paying too much already
    When is theLib/Con pact going to force the energy suppliers to reduce prices
    That is more important than the 2.5P Vat charge
    Or is it Lib/Con policy to see energy prices rise?


    The environmentalists are living in cloud cuckoo land Windmills to generate electricity is a waste of time they will only provide 5% of electricity and are expensive and harmfull to wildlife The last gov’t had their heads in the sand by not building nuclear and coal powerr stations which is the only to go The Lib Dems are obsessed with wind turbines which need a power station to start them and the wind has to be exactly the right speed to generate electricity and are useless on calm days and in 5 years time when the lights starting going out what excuse will they and the rest of the politicians come up to explain their stupid wind policy?
    Roll on the return to the cave man age!

    • Keith Ashton

      I agree with Ronald Ellams that unless nuclear and coal powered power stations are constructed soon we are going to be up the creek in the not too distant future. Constructing wind farms is short term, not good for the enviroment and expensive for very little return.

  • M. T. Offiler

    We are soon going to need more generator capacity, especially if the electric car lobby get their way. However, the battereies now being developed for electric cars have about 3 times the capacity needed for a household for 24 hours. Equip say a million housholds with such batteries and the necessary inverter (to give 230 volt AC) and charge them overnight off peak (shut off unecessary street lighting to make available capacity). These households weill not need power during peak times, so you eliminate the need for new generators, at least for the time being. Subsidising this technology would be more fruitful than subsidising electric cars.

  • J.E.Scarr

    I totally agree with Ronald Ellams. Using wind we pay twice for the given amount of electricity, for the turbine and its backup. The ROC rate now given to wind should be given to tidal instead. At least with tidal you know what you are likely to get, and when you are going to get it, for years in advance. Reliance on wind gives a gaurantee of future power cuts.

  • Stephen Rolfe

    Global Warming is about as credible as the theory of evolution – the idea that a whirlwind could pass over a scrapyard and produce a fully-flying fully fueled 747 has the same probability. In the mid 70s we were heading for the next ice age. ‘Global warming ‘ is just another excuse to con us out of our money

  • mark

    tax should only apply after a minimum usage per person is exceeded

  • Geoffrey Smith

    The global warming brigade have a very poor track record based on false data, are these the ones who will be given funding from the “hidden tax for more unfounded research ?

    Gordon Brown committed our money to global warming and he has an equally bad track record for seeing events for what they are.
    Any need to change energy sources should come from the energy industry, not government or politicians

  • Anthony

    when i think of what it costs the tax payer of the uk to be a member of the eu this sort of news makes my blood boil we as the uk would not be in any financial mess all we have to do is pull out of the eu and use that money for the betterment of the uk, the goverment this one and the unelected one are always pulling at the tax payers pockets and makeing us all pay more and more while they all sit comfi with there flash cars and large houses and make the poor pay yet again so again we with less will pay more and i thought that this new goverment was for the people of the uk but alas what we have got for a goverment that are puppets for the eu i agree that we do need a better energy system but why oh why should every one get stung again the energy comp make and have made more money out of us for many years even after the cost of energy went down the cost to us did not while i dont know what the answer is but i do know i can not keep up with these high bills year on year sorry for thr rant