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Energy For All Manifesto targets fossil fuel subsidies

Launched last year by Fuel Poverty Action, the Energy For All campaign garnered over 650,000 signatures and support from cross-party MPs. Based on the right to enough energy for warmth, washing, lighting, cooking, refrigeration and health, those behind it have now published recommendations for Government policy.

Energy For All Manifesto launch

The Energy for All Manifesto highlights how the current energy system runs on a system of artificial inflation. The result is huge profits for a small number of companies, while their customers suffer from the ill-effects of fuel poverty. 

A new approach is therefore needed, and has been modelled by the New Economics Foundation (NEF). Using enhanced windfall profits, and removing subsidies paid by Westminster to fossil fuel companies, could lead to energy security for all, and incentivise a reduction in energy waste through improvements to insulation and the installation of efficient heating systems.

‘Energy For All would deliver a revolution in energy pricing, ensuring that no-one is left without enough heat and energy to live a decent life. Instead of those only able to afford basic energy paying more per unit and facing energy starvation and disconnection, everyone will be guaranteed an essential energy supply for free. And those with greater needs due to health or family will get more,’ said Jonathan Bean, Policy and Parliamentary spokesperson at Energy for All.

‘We should never, ever face a situation again where thousands of households are forced to disconnect their supply or face energy starvation,’ added Chaitanya Kumar, Head of Environment and Green Transition at NEF. ‘By making simple but powerful changes to our energy tariff design and offering a minimum level of energy to all households for free, we can ensure everybody has access to cheap, clean energy while simultaneously kick-starting a rapid uptake of energy efficiency and renewable energy.’

The Energy for All Manifesto goes further than this, though. It also proposes a ban on standing charges – the controversial costs tied to supply of power rather than actual use. And an end to the forced use of prepayment meters has been tabled. The devices made headlines recently due to their disproportionate impact on vulnerable households, which many argue should be protected from such measures as they risk increase the risk of customers running out of power completely. The idea of staggering charges, meaning those using energy excessively for non-essentials would pay more, also features. 

‘Every family deserves access to affordable, clean energy. But the way we get billed today means that basic energy needs are charged at the same rate as extravagant use,’ said Frances O’Grady, former General Secretary at the TUC union. ‘We need a new approach that gives everyone a free energy allowance for basic needs like heating, cooking and lighting.

‘But when people are powering luxury lifestyles, like heating a private swimming pool, they should expect to pay a higher rate. The government should also put a much higher windfall tax on oil and gas profits. This will help stop profiteering and it will raise revenue that can shield households from the cost of interventions to keep bills down,’ they continued. 

The Manifesto, unveiled today, is now a central part of the campaign’s next phase. With universal energy support set to be cut from 1st April, and ongoing plans for Government assistance still being debated, Energy For All is now calling for public support to lobby Westminster into taking on its recommendations and enshrining these in formal policy. With so much of the content echoing existing sentiment – from Greenpeace threatening to take policymakers to court over failing to improve energy efficiency and UK100’s report on how this could be achieved within current budget limits, to furore surrounding record profits for Shell, BP, and more – it seems likely to find favour with many. 

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