Brit energy bills “too cheap” say academics

Energy bills in the UK are far too cheap for most according to academics at Newcastle University. Today they sent a note to MPs raising concerns about politicians’ constant talk […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Energy bills in the UK are far too cheap for most according to academics at Newcastle University.

Today they sent a note to MPs raising concerns about politicians’ constant talk of affordable energy and cutting emissions.

They argue the way electricity and gas is sold today means that “energy becomes cheaper the more we use”.

The note states: “Most people in the UK think energy is too expensive and for some in society this is true, but it could be argued that for the majority it is actually too cheap.”

The academics add: “We leave lights on, keep appliances running and use machines at peak times when energy is more expensive because the current pricing model does not accurately reflect the high economic and environmental cost of generating, storing and distributing energy.”

They point to energy companies’ need to sell large amounts of energy in order to make a profit because they make very small margins on each unit of energy produced.

Researchers believe this leads to a “bad deal” for consumers, as there is no incentive for companies to help customers reduce their energy use.

Instead, they advise energy providers should be rewarded for providing tools and techniques that help customers use energy more efficiently.

The academics also tick off politicians for ignoring “vital” issues such as the energy sector’s use of water.

Professor Phil Taylor, Director of the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability said: “It’s vital that politicians move beyond short-term political sound bites…

“This thinking risks locking the UK into a future in which water availability could put energy security at risk and power stations could be forced to reduce production or even shut down if there isn’t sufficient water available to keep them safely operational.”