What’s the best way of dealing with high energy prices? That was the discussion on the BBC radio 4 Today programme this morning. Is it some kind of cap on high energy prices as suggested by both government and opposition. or is it by other means? Well for starters the cap is off the table since the election.
The people interviewed thought that high prices were the way to go since this is the only way to get investment in new forms of energy and people to take energy efficiency seriously. The problem is as was said this morning energy is too cheap. The examples this morning of high paid workers in the city of London who have no idea how much energy they use. Meanwhile all the lights are left on in their offices. (Something I can confirm here cycling back from church last night past our cities financial sector). Another example I pass a school on the way to work and a few weeks ago steam was coming out a flue. The boiler was obviously on in an empty building during the holidays. The problem is energy costs for most businesses and organisations make up a very low part of their costs. Meanwhile for many individuals energy costs are far too high. How to square this dilemma?
The best and fairest way is a carbon ration, but when the government climbs down on a modest cap how likely is that? This would encourage both energy efficiency storage and renewables. Energy efficiency is the next measure but since the green deal was dropped this idea is in chaos. Energy efficiency has proven hard to get people to do. Many of the measures have long pay back times and are very disruptive. The last idea was to provide those with low incomes with compensation in some way.
Both the energy efficiency (through the big 6) and compensation are happening to certain extent and at the moment this looks like way we are going. The whole thing is piece meal though and it look like this problem is not going to go away until there is consistent organised attempt at tackling it.