Government urged to give people more control over their energy bills

The chief of CBI has warned some people are at “breaking point” while others feel “powerless”

Big Zero Report 2022

Energy efficiency should be put at the heart of the government’s cost of living plan.

That’s the suggestion from the Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry Tony Darker who highlighted the challenges people face amid the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine.

Mr Darker said: “The war in Ukraine has made the switch to clean energy more urgent – to guarantee global security, national security and the security of every family in our country. Inflation changes the game too.

“People feel powerless, some are at breaking point. Their lives at the mercy of global storms that they and even their own government have little ability to control.

“While the government’s recent support package will help ease some of the pressure, they’re clear it’s a temporary solution.”

Speaking to an audience of senior business leaders at the Science Museum in London, Mr Darker said people “must not be left at the mercy of global oil and gas prices”.

He said the best solution is to offer people the tools to manage their energy consumption through energy efficiency measures such as insulation.

Research shows retrofitting UK properties to improve energy efficiency could save households around £500 a year.

The CBI chief added that energy prices “are likely to be higher for longer than we imagined” and he predicted that will inevitably delay the energy transition.

Mr Darker said: “Reimagining the supply side to reduce our fossil fuel use further will take years not months. This is a long-term crisis that needs a long-term solution, but people need a fix now.

“It’s driving something of a backlash against net zero, partly understandable in the circumstances. Yet coming most forcefully from long-time sceptics.

“Arguing net zero is a costly distraction. Better we stick with fossil fuels. Currently, the public don’t quite agree. Despite all the challenges, the surveys show continued commitment to tackling climate change.

“But we can’t be complacent. Business and government must take this seriously. We must show decarbonisation is the solution, not the problem, or we’ll lose that support.”

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