It will not have escaped your notice that energy prices are rising. There is pressure on central government to help those likely to suffer most from rising energy prices. However, it is more complex than expecting taxpayers to support energy companies by offering funds. For example, do the suppliers volunteer to keep tariffs low? What if they pocket the funds allocated to support customers?
There is an argument that fossil fuel prices should be left to fend for themselves as lower consumption due to higher prices would lower greenhouse emissions and help global warming be addressed. So should more effort go into helping to create more sustainable energy such as wind, wave and solar generation, which will stabilise energy prices and reduce emissions? If fossil fuels are to be more effectively used, for example, developing high-tech lubricants, maybe scarcity will raise prices further, and fuels such as coal that have limited uses other than combustion would be left in the ground. But all of this helps individuals little in the short term.
Here are three useful things to consider:
- If you anticipate that your energy bills will rise, don’t wait for a handout – increase your direct debit now so that you build up a credit rather than build up a debt.
- Consider how energy use can be reduced by using alternative transport, reducing transport distances by shopping locally, or planning trips to achieve multiple purposes.
- Could energy for space and water heating be reduced by better-designed systems, improved insulation and less wasteful use? Is wash clothes in cooler temperatures and dry clothes outside rather than using dryer an option?
The government will need to be seen to help, but in reality – market forces of supply and demand will dominate. Investment in energy-efficient housing stock and using free wind and solar energy will eventually pay dividends. Meanwhile, do what you can to keep your budget working.