October 17, 2021

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Poorest must not bear brunt of green energy switch costs

The poorest households are at risk of suffering the most if Britain hikes gas bills to fund its switch to green power, a government infrastructure tsar has warned, as energy prices surge to record highs.

Bridget Rosewell, a member of the National Infrastructure Commission, said that ministers are in danger of heaping costs on to those who can least afford it with plans to partly fund the country’s £50bn-a-year switch to renewables through a change to bills.

It comes amid soaring wholesale gas and power prices, which are putting companies out of business and piling pressure on the public.

Last night it emerged that Ofgem, the energy regulator, is talking to City advisory firms about stepping in to act as special administrator in case a large energy supplier collapses. The insolvency company Teneo is among those holding discussions.

The Government is expected to set out proposals next month to move ­surcharges for green energy off electricity bills and on to gas bills.

This change will effectively make electricity cheaper and gas more expensive, and is designed to encourage customers to ditch gas-fired boilers and petrol cars in favour of electric heat pumps, as well as buying electric cars.

Heating buildings, including homes, is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions – generating about 20pc of the national total. Ms Rosewell said: “We have got to be careful about the distributional consequences – poorer households may be locked into a particular form of home-heating and can’t afford to make a transition.”

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