Energy Bills on the Rise: Solar Panels Increasing in Attractiveness

Energy bills increasing in the UK

by Jarrah Harburn on October 12, 2012

Two of the largest energy and gas retailers in the UK have announced significant increases in their energy bills. British Gas and Npower today confirmed that they would be increasing the bills of their customers by 6% and 9.1% respectively. The moves highlight the increasing pressure on UK households and attractiveness of small scale renewable upgrades such as solar panels to counteract the squeeze.

Energy Bills Increasing

Npower and British Gas are undoubtedly two of the largest energy and gas retailers in the UK; over 4 million customers are to be affected by these changes. The follows Scottish Hydro, Swalec and Southern Electric energy who have already said they are set to increase their bills by 9% from Monday 15 October 2012.

The average bills of all those affected is set to increase by £80 a year. Npower and British Gas made the announcements in synchronisation, no doubt in attempts to deflect the blame and create a united front to the backlash.

It’s worth remember the benefits and justifications for people reducing their energy bills through solar panels at this time. After all, the prospect of solar power simply grows in attractiveness when such increases come into place and little other than business rhetoric is offered up by the all powerful energy giants.

“There is never a good time to increase energy bills, particularly when so many people are working hard to make ends meet,”  Chief commercial officer with Npower; Paul Massara.

“But the costs of new statutory schemes, increases in distribution charges and the price of gas for the coming winter are all being driven up by external factors, for example government policy.”

Justification for the Energy Bill Rises

As expected, Npower and British Gas have included renewable energy uptake (such as solar panels) in their list of contributing factors to the changes. Household energy efficiency increases and support for the poorest families was also mentioned.

The reality of the situation is hard to fully understand, with global costs in gas and energy procurement adding complex systems to underpinnings of profit margins of the retailer’s owners. It’s worth mentioning that both British Gas and Npower’s parent companies enjoyed healthy profits in their last statements in the £billions.

British Gas MD Phil Bentley states that 85% of the price that is charged to customers was a result of outside, uncontrollable influences.

“Britain’s North Sea gas supplies are running out and British Gas has to pay the going rate for gas in a competitive global marketplace,” said Mr Bentley.

“Furthermore, the investment needed to maintain and upgrade the national grid to deliver energy to our customers’ homes, and the costs of the government’s policies for a clean, energy-efficient Britain, are all going up.”

The cost of maintaining the grid is also cited as a major expense; not hard to believe considering the age and neglect the energy companies and DNO’s have shown the grid over the years.

So what does this all mean? Well for starters doing nothing about it will see many millions of people across the UK spending more to survive. Unless wages are set for a unanimous increase this doesn’t bode well for family budgets and economic spending. Businesses and homes alike need to turn on to renewable energy like solar panels lest they are caught in the ever increasing bind of the upwards moving energy giants like Npower and British Gas.

Written by Jarrah Harburn

jarrah@solarselections.co.uk

020 7205 2267

© 2012 Solar Selections Ltd

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