Fair? No. Necessary? Probably. What would be fairer would be if the (largely foreign owned) privatised energy companies had not given all the profits of the past 20 years to their shareholders with little, if any, thought to the future of UK power requirements. But that would have required a strategic vision from the government and regulators with powers to regulate effectively for the long term. In the absence of that, I suppose it's up to us to stump up again and bail out another myopic (but essential) industry.
Mike Prottey, Bristol
There are only three sources of funding; the user, the suppliers in the chain or the Government (the users’ taxes; and suppliers’ taxes from the user’s payments). Free energy is not available. We need to protect the vulnerable from exploitation and the country from foreign exploitation.
David Leggett, Bristol
The question implies that there's a choice of who pays. But there isn't! Whether the cost is added to our utility bills, taxation or some other charge we'll be paying it in the end anyway. This is the future - live with it...
Stuart Brown, Dundee
If investment is not available through other means then the consumer needs to pay. Increased fuel prices should encourage consumers to use less energy while we transition to greener energy sources. Green energy sources are usually renewable and should therefore have more stable prices in the longer term so consumer education might help to soften the blow.
Amanda Arnold, Chelmsford, Essex
Why put off the inevitable? As demand for energy continues to increase, driving higher prices (for those that can afford to pay), let's get viable alternatives on stream so that everyone can benefit. However, this needs to be complemented by efforts to reduce overall consumption.
Neil Dinmore, Derby
The 'big six' energy companies will all eventually increase energy rates by 15-20% before the end of 2011 due to wholesale commodities prices. UK customers will see their energy bills increase by £200 in addition to this rise if the proposed EMR does not happen. However there is a potential £50 savings due to successful implementation of the EMR road map. Doing nothing or contributing will cost the UK customer financially. Paying more now will provide economic and environmental benefit to the UK customers in the longer-term.
Eddy Akang, Gloucester
It is the only way in which people will take the matter seriously. We must arrest the assumption of continuous "growth" and short termism. Much of this energy is expended in striving for instant gratification and only when the cost is significant will people really stop to think. It may be that a re discovery of real values may result!
Dick Vote, Aberdeen
It is clear that the UK is facing an impending energy gap and is also too reliant on traditional fossil energy sources; diversification is the only way forward. But shouldn't the government be taking the lead on this; after all government incentive is the only way making green power generation sustainable by increasing £/Kwh.
Yes. People need to understand the true cost of everything they do in order to allow them to make informed decisions. Even if it is then subsidised for socioeconomic reasons.
John Ovenden, Barton Under Needwood
We did not look ahead. It is exactly like the pension situation where scheme costs are now high in order to bail-out the unsustainable pension promises made to the previous generation. Energy-users strike?
People are going to pay for a future 'Green Utopia' one way or another. Linking the additional cost to existing energy bills has the advantage of incentivising reduced energy use, meaning less low-carbon energy will be required.
John Rutledge, Peterborough
Funding for investment has to come from somewhere. Linking this cost to energy use is perhaps fairer than general taxation as long as the most vulnerable in society are protected. At the same time, we need to ensure that the profits made by energy companies are commensurate with their level of risk and not excessive.
Brian Miller, Helmshore, Lancashire
In private industry developing new technology is funded from profit. Over-price your current product to cover the development of the next, and you are out of business. Oil revenue should have gone to insulating homes to reduce the energy take. Hindsight is a wonderful engineering technology, we would have seen this coming!
Robert Falk, London
Is this the right question?? Should it not be how do you want to pay? As an energy user or as a tax-payer? One way or the other our wallets will be lighter in the future. (no pun intended)
Steve Hodgkinson, Egham, Surrey
The real issue here is not how to produce more energy - 'green' or otherwise - but how to demand less. We currently take for granted that energy in various forms is freely 'on-tap' and, consequently, think nothing of wasting much of it. So: Yes, it is fair to charge more for energy - to penalise those who waste it. Perhaps a hit-in-the-pocket will help us re-consider our attitudes & wasteful habits.
Gary Wood, East Kilbride, Glasgow
Not much choice if we want to keep the lights on into the future. However, it will take inspired leadership to ensure the money goes towards the most beneficial technologies, rather than subsidising the business interests of the policy makers.
To get wide take up and acceptance of low-carbon energy, consumers will need to see cost savings compared to fossil fuels. The government should re-think its strategy for this.
D Aldridge, Cambridgeshire
Energy users, that is everybody, will have to pay by one means or another, so the debate is just about the vehicle. With proper regulation, payment on the basis of energy usage and direct to the energy industry seems sensible.
Stuart de Turberville, Berkshire
Green energy initiatives are just a costly scam. All Green taxes should be withdrawn immediately.
Andy Borucki, London
I would like to see a ecological friendly society but unless all nations partake in "low-carbon" measures the British, as usual are handicapping themselves against international competitors; especially China, France and India.
David Maclean, Bower Hinton, Somerset
A red herring disguised in green credentials again! As a country we need more generating capacity to meet demand. So if energy users need it then yes it is fair they pay to ensure adequate facilities now and in the future. However it is not fair to be selling the idea behind a green conscience.
Paul Gaskell, Prescot, Merseyside
Until renewbales become significantly more efficient and reliable, the public should not have further increases to their energy bills from inefficient and unreliable sources. The organisations behind nuclear build are private consortiums and we should not fund that either.
Pete Drinkwater, Walton on Thames, Surrey
Well, the taxpayers and energy company shareholders at privatisation had the benefit of the lower bills, share bonanzas and tax cuts, so now it's time to reap the whirlwind from the lack of long term strategy and planning that "market forces" have so expertly delivered. Unfortunately those "benefits" were not equitably shared 20 or so years ago, and neither will the burdens be, as we all pick up the bill over the next 20. I am not surprised, but it is all rather sad - not the way engineers do things at all.
Charles Saunders, Derby
Now, let me think. The government takes money from something to use somewhere else. Oh, that's right, it's called TAX! Ok, we already pay tax on our energy bills, so really this is just a tax increase. Targeting the energy users seems logical, but what do those who will benefit from a greener environment pay? How much do the shareholders of the energy companies pay? Lets face it they make their money by increasing energy sales. Lets follow the sequence here; Government increases tax on energy, consumers reduce their costs by cutting energy use, shareholders complain about reduced dividends, energy companies increase prices, then back to consumers reducing use etc. Anyone see a pattern? Just up the normal taxes. At least that way we get the shareholders out of the picture. Either way, Joe public is going to be bled dry for absolutely no benefit. We really do need some engineers at the top!
Fred Bunce, Gloucester
With or without renewables I suspect that bills would rise. At least with renewables we should be in a position to minimise the import of fossil fuels.
Richard Tomlins, Farnham
With the huge profits being enjoyed by all of the energy providers and their shareholders it only seems fitting that they should pay for the transition to a low carbon economy instead of penalising energy users with yet another stealth tax.
Tony Bielowiecki, Southend-on-sea, Essex
Lowest earners in Britain spend 9% of their income on energy, compared to 2% for the wealthiest. Yes, we must invest to achieve a sustainable future for our children, but can't the government be more creative in their methods?
Andrew Causton, Chorleywood, Herts
With a rapidly expanding world population it is inevitable that energy costs will continue to rise as will the threat to energy security. By investing now in non-fossil nuclear energy cost increase and availability risk will, hopefully, be minimised. Fairly or otherwise, customers will pay for investment, directly or as tax-payers. Let’s hope money isn’t squandered on ‘white elephants’!
Ted Boller, Halesowen, West Midlands
The energy companies have had years to prepare for and therefore invest in the transition over to renewable energy. The lack of serious action by these companies and the government has left us playing catch up which is going to cost the end user a premium. No doubt the shareholders will still be receiving their dividends though!
Andy Gatenby, Yarm, North Yorkshire
Whilst price rises in the cost of energy may be unpalatable no generation has a right to cheap energy at the expense of the well being of future generations. Too much government policy is based around meeting the needs of today and hang the consequences, at least this appears to be backed by some longer term thinking. Now they need to look a bit further ahead and fund Fusion research properly!
D Wolff, Oxfordshire
When was fairness ever a consideration in fiscal policy? We have to invest in nuclear power if we are to have any hope of maintaining the life-style we have got used to, with energy on demand 24/7 We should categorically NOT be throwing money away on hopelessly inefficient windmills (known in our house as "futile gestures") which render the required back-up traditional generators less efficient than they would otherwise be. The Dark Ages were green, but who wants to go back to them?
Ann Cooper, Stroud
Just as the mistakes of generals are paid for by the common soldier, so the consumer will have to pay for decades of incompetent energy policy in Britain.
Clive Renton, Chippenham, Wilts
- What do you think about the rising energy bills which will fund the transition to a low-carbon economy? Leave your Soundbite by commenting below.