OPINION - The Standard View: A long-term energy price cap requires an energy efficiency revolution

 (Christian Adams)
(Christian Adams)

The energy price cap will rise to a record £4,289 in January. Except families won’t feel it, thanks to the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee, which ensures that the average household will pay no more than £2,500. That is, until April.

The large increase in the price cap, driven by the wholesale cost of energy, heaps further pressure on the Exchequer, which is effectively funding the difference. This at a time of huge fiscal challenges.

The Government was right to take action to protect people this winter from soaring bills, though the measure could have been better targetted to support the most vulnerable. The puzzling element was the then Truss administration’s refusal to launch a public information campaign to advise people how to use less energy.

This is despite widespread support for such an initiative, with the obvious benefit that households would be able to save money and by extension the Government too, given it is exposed to higher prices thanks to the price guarantee.

According to reports, ministers have finally agreed to run a campaign, which is welcome. Longer term, it is only through the mass rollout of energy efficiency schemes, raising standards for new-builds and investment in energy-saving technologies such as heat pumps, that households can lock in low prices for the long-term.

A new electric reality

From changing how we heat our homes to the way we get around town. The capital’s future is electric and clean — the aim of the Evening Standard’s Plug It In initiative and the plan to make London Net Zero 2030 a reality.

Throughout this campaign, the Standard will host events and publish white papers in aid of accelerating our electric transformation, with the overarching ambition to create a global blueprint for electric cities to ramp up the rollout of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

Today, we convened many of the stakeholders and organisations key to driving London’s future, to discuss how we can drive down emissions and build up the infrastructure.

This will be an all-city affair. We need the mayor, central government, local authorities, car manufacturers and electricity suppliers to work together towards this overarching goal. From ridding the capital of toxic air to playing our part to prevent catastrophic climate change, let’s build a greener, cleaner city for us all.

Tamara’s parting shot

Tamara Rojo, former artistic director of the English National Ballet and a wonderful ballerina in her own right, has condemned the Arts Council’s decision to shift funding from London. “I’m not sure that punishing London is going to help anybody else”, she says, and she is right.

So too is Stuart Murphy, head of English National Opera, who told the Government yesterday that the company could help with its levelling up agenda, but only with a big London base. Rojo moves to San Francisco this week. Bluntly, how likely is it that the company could attract international talent such as her if not based in London?

The capital’s arts companies, like others, go on tour regularly, but they need their base here in order to thrive. It’s time to think again.