How could raising price cap increase air pollution?

Rising energy bills could lead to air pollution levels seen in Eastern Europe, an energy expert has warned

Big Zero Report 2022

Air pollution seen in Bulgaria, Poland and Romania could soon hit the UK as a result of the raised price cap.

With the new price cap coming into force today, an energy expert from the University of Sussex Business School has warned the new tariff prices could result in decreased air quality and an increase in the number of households in fuel poverty.

Dr Ralitsa Hiteva, a Senior Research Fellow in the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex Business School, said: “In the next two years we will see many households with people in full employment who are fuel poor and will be in energy debt.

“This is a type of fuel poverty which is currently experienced in Central and Eastern Europe (in some places affecting over 40% of the population).”

The new price cap will see customers’ bills rise by 54% compared to the amount they paid last year.

Dr Hiteva added: “We can also expect to experience significant reductions in air quality, particularly in cities, which will be caused by people reverting to the use of lower quality fuels and more traditional type of fuel sources.

“In this respect, we might also become more like Eastern Europe and see practices of burning old clothes and plastics in adjusted log burners and stoves even in apartment buildings.”

Earlier this week, speaking to the Commons Treasury Committee, the Chancellor said no more support for rising energy bills should be expected before autumn.

An Ofgem spokesperson told ELN: “Our top priority is to protect energy consumers. Over winter, the energy price cap has protected millions of households from the full impact of surging global gas prices, and we’ll continue to ensure energy companies support their customers in any way they can.

“Our price controls are also boosting clean energy investment to improve access to low carbon technologies at an affordable price.

“As energy regulator we’re deeply committed to working with government and industry to help ensure the transition to net zero is affordable, fair and inclusive for all.”

ELN has contacted BEIS for a response.

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