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Government must be open about the cost of carbon reduction

Consumers expected to pay a 'blank cheque'

factory with smoke

Energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne is set to announce new long-term targets for carbon reduction to take the UK to 2027, the results of which will mean yet more energy price rises for consumers.

The targets are the most far-reaching laid out by any state to date. But the government has not yet told consumers how much these measures will cost them.

Huhne is expected to announce that the government will cut carbon emission levels by 50% (from 1990 levels) by the year 2025 – a cut that will require significant input from businesses, consumers, and the government itself.

While the targets are welcomed by environmental groups, businesses are concerned at the impact the targets could have on economic growth. 

The cost of cutting carbon emissions

But Which? is concerned that there is not enough clarity on the impact new targets will have on household energy bills. In a market where consumers are already bombarded with confusing information on energy tariffs, the green deal and smart meters, the government needs to do more to make sure the impact of carbon targets is communicated to those who’ll foot the bill.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which? said:

‘Consumers need a guarantee that the government is not writing a blank cheque on their behalf to reduce carbon emissions.

‘Despite the fact that consumers will ultimately foot the bill, we’re still in the dark about the impact of new targets for carbon emissions on our energy bills.

‘We urgently need more clarity from the government about how much this will cost, how that cost will be passed on to consumers and whether it will be capped.

‘With energy prices almost double what they were in 2004, and future price increases predicted just last week, many of us are already struggling to keep up with rising costs.

‘The government needs to be honest with consumers about what these changes will mean for them, and to ensure that energy efficiency programmes really help people to reduce their bills.’

Which? Energy campaigns

At Which? we campaign on a number of energy issues that affect consumers. From the roll-out of smart meters to the Green Deal, we want to make sure that energy initiatives are beneficial to the consumer and not just to energy companies. 

Visit our energy campaigns pages to see how you can get involved, or follow us @WhichAction on twitter or facebook for updates. 

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