Andy Boroughs

Member Article

UK faces 'energy crisis' as fuel bills rise

The UK is facing an ‘energy crisis’ with record-breaking hikes in energy bills and the threat of blackouts by 2015, according to renewables expert Andy Boroughs.

Mr Boroughs, who was instrumental in introducing low carbon heating technology to the UK nearly 20 years ago, is calling for more investment in renewable energy to combat both rising costs and an energy shortage predicted in the next three to four years.

British Gas and npower announced price hikes this month which will see householders having to pay an average of £1,300 a year for their gas and electricity.

The price jumps came days after a new report from Ofgem revealed that unless alternative electricity supplies were found to meet increasing demand, the UK could find itself facing blackouts by 2015.

Mr Boroughs, managing director of Organic Energy in Welshpool, said: “How many times do we need to see energy suppliers put up their prices, despite making huge profits, before we consider alternative ways to heat and light our homes?

“The latest price increases, above the rate of inflation and being implemented despite the cost of power falling, will affect millions of families, not to mention plunging some of them into fuel poverty just as winter approaches.

“Perhaps now is the time when more families and businesses should be considering taking the matter into their own hands by installing more sustainable solutions, particularly around heating. Real, viable alternatives do exist.”

Ofgem’s first Capacity Assessment published last week shows that the amount of spare energy capacity available in the UK could fall from 14 per cent to four per cent over the next three years.

The Government has said it will be considering the findings of the report, with the shortages primarily being caused by EU environmental legislation forcing the early closure of coal and oil-fired power stations, and respond before the end of the year.

Mr Boroughs, who is managing director of green heat specialist Welshpool-based Organic Energy, added: “The response needs to clearly set out how this crisis will be tackled and renewable energy should form part of this plan.

“If the Government is not going to crack down on unacceptable household bill increases, with most other major suppliers also expected to increase rates in coming weeks, it has to work towards supporting viable and cost-effective alternative sources of energy generation.”

The increases from npower and British Gas have added more than £100 and £80 respectively to the average annual bill from next month.

The latest rises mean that the average annual household energy bill has rocketed from £522 in 2004 to a record high of £1,310 by the end of this year – a £788 or 151 per cent increase, according to comparison site uSwitch.

Both suppliers blamed a combination of government charges, the cost of delivering energy and a rise in wholesale prices for the hike.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Organic Energy .

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