Minister hails 'low' energy prices
Published 10/07/2011 | 15:52
Britain has some of the lowest energy prices in Europe, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has insisted.
He dismissed claims that household bills would soar thanks to green measures being introduced by the coalition.
And he said prices would be reduced in the long term as Britain moves from its reliance on oil and gas from the Middle East to renewable energy sources.
Mr Huhne's remarks came days after British Gas raised gas and electricity prices by an average of 18% and 16% respectively from August 18, hitting nine million customers. The average dual fuel bill will rise by £190 a year to £1,219.
Last month, Scottish Power announced a similar hike in bills and the rest of the 'big six' suppliers are expected to follow suit in coming weeks.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that bills would soar by 30% over the next 20 years as a result of new incentives to encourage energy companies to invest in renewable power.
It said the Government would announce this week that energy providers would get a fixed price for electricity generated from nuclear power and wind farms, which will be higher than the market price. But Mr Huhne dismissed the estimated 30% rise in bills as "extraordinarily rubbish".
He told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "We're not going to have the highest prices. That's absolute nonsense. The reality is we have some of the lowest energy prices in Europe. We could get them even lower.
"There's one thing that a British energy secretary cannot do and that is control events in the Middle East.
"If we want to get out from under the volatility of these world markets, the best way we can do it is to save energy, make our bills much less sensitive to world market prices and get on in the long-term - get onto clean, secure, green energy sources which don't bounce around with world oil and gas prices."