Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reasonable question - vague answer

Yesterday in the House of Lords (haven't heard from them for a while) Lord Kennedy asked HMG a somewhat disingenuous question:
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the announcement of price rises by British Gas, what action they will take to protect consumers from rising energy costs.
He got a disingenuous answer that gave notice of some more government spending on various projects and advertising thereof.
My Lords, protecting consumers from rising energy costs is a priority for this Government. Programmes such as the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, Warm Front, Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation make or will make homes more energy efficient. The Warm Home discount provides £1.1 billion of support until 2015 and helps around 2 million low-income and vulnerable households. The Government have also instigated the Big Energy Saving Week, to be held the week of 22 October, when there will be up to 400 events across the country providing direct advice on reducing energy bills.
It was Lord Willoughby de Broke's question that interested me:
My Lords, would not the simple way to reduce consumers' electricity costs be to stop paying huge subsidies to wind farms? The cost of those subsidies falls directly on to the consumer, particularly, as the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, mentioned, those in fuel poverty.
The answer was suitably vague (suitably for HMG, that is):
My Lords, this country needs a mix of different energy sources. Wind happens to be one of them and is carbon free. However, we recognise that we need to look at all sources and the subsidies we are providing to them, and we have taken it upon ourselves to reduce wind subsidies by 10 per cent.
!0 per cent is better than nothing but 100 per cent would be even better.

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