The Cost Of British Living

There’s something very British about the current state of Britain’s energy suppliers and the whole inability to plan for the required sustainability that encompasses housing in this green and pleasant land.power

Price Hike
Poor productivity and classic serial short termism are still at work when we hear that the UK energy suppliers are to possibly be called to account for recent 15-22% price hikes and we learn that no new energy supplier has entered the British energy supplier market in the last 10 years leaving only 6 suppliers to play happy cartels and carve up the existing user base amongst themselves. So much for competition giving the customer what they want.

We also learn that the privatised utility companies still look to government to OK and supply the woefull shortfull in energy production infrastructure needed in order to meet future British energy needs. Even with a heavy future government investment in nuclear power this will leave us far short of the required energy production capacity needed and will likely result in further price rises along the way in order to fund this shortfall (a common outcome of many privatised public utilities who fail to invest in infrastructure).

Supply And Demand
Energy demand will currently outstrip the British ability to supply between 2012-2015 whilst even if government approves the building of new power stations immediately most will take 10 years to come on stream.

The use of coal power power stations has grown by 25% during 2000-2006 to meet current demands but the hours that these stations can operate is limited by EU law that requires them to be decommissioned by 2015.

This Old House
Combine this with the news that although the best way to obtain planning permission to build the much required housing capacity for our growing population is by building to sustainable home specifications which then gives developers the required green lights and accompanying tax-breaks. But we now learn that so far only three such properties have actually been built. It becomes apparent that neither a centralised government model or the private sector are doing enough to make the future of Britain a better or affordable place to live.

The Cost Of Living
The average annual gas and/or electricity bill in the UK is now approaching £1000 whilst the average house price is now £230,000 (£398,476 in London).*

*Source: RightMove house price index

Photo by Koert Michiels under this limited creative commons license


2 thoughts on “The Cost Of British Living

  1. And I thought my blogging was supposed to be recreational!!

    Interesting! The easiest way forward is of course to concentrate on decreasing demand rather than increasing supply. Unrealistic? Maybe. In the event of a shortfall we just buy more from France where the nuclear industry is better established.

    The Norwegian CCS (carbon capture and storage) approach is the obvious way to overcome the coal-fired emissions problem, you simply pump all the nasties underground.

    Some of the work I am doing at the moment is carrying out a review of consultation procedures as part of EIA for new energy provision. The aim is to speed the planning process up and bring things on stream more quickly – wind, biomass etc.

    haha I could talk for hours on this. But don’t worry. I won’t!

  2. I have never understood why shortages cause an increase in prices. If there is a shortage, then no matter how much you pay for whatever supplies there are, this will not increase the supply.

    OK, I do understand why prices increase: the suppliers are profiteering, using the public’s fear to make extra money. This is immoral. Not that that ever stopped them.

    Let’s think about this for a moment. Shortages lead to increased prices. Increased prices make bigger profits for the suppliers. Could shortages and rumours of shortages possibly part of a business plan to increase profitability?

    I’m so glad I’m not a cynic.

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