High cost of electricity exposes UK energy policy failings

ion light of the energy crisis in the UK, installing a smart meter and heat pump as measures to help combat the climate crisis have exposed serious failings in government policy. A heat pump may be four times as efficient as the best gas-condensing boiler, but the cost of heating a home is as great because of the high price of electricity.

The new year weekend of high temperatures across the UK brought this sharply into focus. The heating was off and, even though everything else in the house is electric, daily bills, measured by the smart meter, dropped by two thirds.

At the same time notice of new tariffs arrived. Gas will be 8.38p per kilowatt-hour, a rise of less than 2p, while electricity will be 34.64 per kWh, 10.28p more. So electricity will continue to be more than four times the price of gas.

Those who turned their backs on fossil fuels and have all-electric homes with suppliers that guarantee power only from renewables are paying a heavy price for their commitment.

The distortion is caused partly by the policy of previous governments – loading electricity prices to pay for subsidies for renewables and to discourage the use of coal power stations, while subsidising gas as a cleaner fuel. For the climate’s sake this needs to change.

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