Tag Archives: energy

A policy solution to poverty-promoting pre-payment meters

It is frequently asked how we reach the lower paid and those in poverty who have made up a large proportion of whose who may have been disenfranchised or chosen to vote for UKIP in the past. A big part is about getting the message across in a way which isn’t patronising or condescending but it’s also the day to day issues that need addressing. Liberal democrat policies need to be addressing these issues.

Those who have struggled financially, having fallen in to arrears, or are in rented accommodation are highly likely to be placed on pre-payment meters for their energy needs. The BBC today reported that these customers are likely to pay on average £220 more a year than customers who are not on the pre-payment meters.

The Ofgem report released today promised:

Those on pre-payment meters, who are among the most vulnerable and least likely to switch, will be protected by an interim price cap which will save them around £75 a year from next April.

I don’t think this goes far enough, pre-payment tariffs will still average a cost of around £145 more a year and, furthermore, the use of the word ‘interim’ highlights that the cap is not even a permanent reduction to pre-payment tariffs. This potentially means that pre-payment tariffs may become even more unfair after any proposed cap expires.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

WATCH: Alex Cole Hamilton on the SNP’s “smog and mirrors” and singing the recycling song

This week, Edinburgh Western and Lothian list candidate took part in a Scotland 2016 debate on energy and the environment. After his success at getting in John Swinney’s face on tax, expectations were high, and he didn’t disappoint.

Here are some of his highlights:

Pointing out that the SNP consistently miss its climate change targets while they cut the budget for measures to tackle climate change.

“There is no question in the climate change challenge which shows that tracking is part of the solution”

Describing SNP MInister Fergus Ewing’s justification of a planned cut to Air Passenger Duty as a “smog and mirrors approach”

Outlining the Liberal Democrat plan to make sure houses are energy efficient and warm.

Explaining how good habits on recycling are being embedded in today’s children – and singing the song his 4 year old sings every day at nursery. Whether that latter part was entirely necessary, I’ll leave to your judgement.

You can watch Alex’s highlights below:

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Featherstone: Lib Dems will fight to protect renewables sector

Lynne FEatherstone 2007 Brighton conference by Liberal DemocratsEnergy and Climate Change spokesperson Lynne Featherstone has accused the government (perfectly reasonably) of making “ideological cuts” to the renewables sector. Speaking ahead of a Lords debate on the Energy Bill tomorrow, she said:

Liberal Democrats have made changes to the Government’s Energy Bill in the House of Lords, and will be fighting to protect onshore wind subsidies in the debate.

We will be fighting to keep these changes, which will help protect our renewable energy industry in the face of brutal Conservative cuts.

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LibLink: If I’m Lib Dem leader, we’ll oppose fracking

Tim Farron has been writing for Politics.co.uk about his desire to see the party change its policy on fracking. The headline is entirely misleading, because what he actually does is show respect to the party’s processes by saying he’ll ask the Federal Policy Committee and Conference to reconsider the issue. But why?

The UK should not be pursuing another fossil fuel source, when there is so much potential for renewable generation from tidal and hydro that is still untapped. I would like the party, through the federal policy committee and the conference, to think again about our existing policy on fracking.

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Opinion: Three things the Lib Dems can ‘own’


It seems to me that elections are fought not in the currency of policies but actually perception.

I feel that in the election campaign, where we actually talked about ourselves (on those rare occasions) we tried to take credit for the economic recovery. However, given that the Tories have always held that ground, they won that argument before it even began. As a result, voters who wanted a continuation of the past five years didn’t think to vote Lib Dem, they instead thought to vote Tory. It shouldn’t seem so baffling after all that people who voted Lib Dem last time chose to vote Tory this time if they were so thrilled about the outcomes of the coalition.

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Robin Teverson writes … Doing cold smarter


In the world of politics, energy is all too often around building shiny new power stations – whether gas or nuclear.  Rather more positively it is about renewables – erecting wind or solar farms, and wind arrays off-shore.

Just recently, with Lib Dems in Government and in charge of DECC, we’ve got rather more sophisticated. Nowadays we also think about the demand side of the equation. Why not spread demand more evenly and avoid having to build all that expensive excess capacity?  Or even better, increase energy efficiency to such a degree that we don’t need to generate so much power and heat in the first place.

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Ed Davey writes … Warmer, cheaper, greener homes for people in rented properties

warmer homesToday marks a landmark achievement for Lib Dems in government. Up to 1 million tenants renting energy inefficient leaky homes will be able to benefit from new regulations and so enjoy warmer homes and cheaper energy bills.  Clearly this will particularly help the fuel poor: those living in the leakiest privately-rented homes already need to spend an average £1,000 a year more to keep warm compared to the average home.

These new regulations will deliver two important changes:

  • From April 2018 private landlords will not be able to rent out properties which do not meet minimum energy efficiency standards; and
  • From April 2016 residential private landlords can’t unreasonably turn down a tenant’s request for energy efficiency improvements. This will mean landlords have to accept the request if they can get help through widely available support like Green Deal finance,  the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), or grants from the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund.
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