CBI voices serious business fears over blackouts and endless energy price rises

Posted on

September 17, 2013

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Cut consumption at work

We wrote about the looming shadow of power cuts in Britain earlier this year – now the CBI has voiced serious business fears over blackouts & energy prices.

The CBI has just published its annual infrastructure survey, which shows that businesses place energy at the top of their list of commercial concerns. Nine out of ten of the 526 firms polled have fears over security of supply.

Already we have seen that companies are being enticed through payments to accept voluntary power cuts while in other countries, notably the United States, supply shortages prompt blackouts that are a fact of life for many people. In this environment, where the market is increasingly unable to meet demand, less than a quarter of UK businesses are confident the UK’s energy infrastructure will improve over the next five years.

This is a significant 8% decline in just 12 months and is led by manufacturers with only 14% of them expecting an improvement in the period of 2018. We continue to argue strongly that there should be effective national strategies which promote and support the roll-out of simple energy and water-saving solutions, together with programmes that champion the best sustainability polices in Corporate Social Responsibility.

The CBI survey, conducted with consultants KPMG, alarmingly advises that just about every UK business (95%) surveyed is concerned about energy prices, with more than four out of five (77%) companies stating that energy costs might well prevent future investment. The CBI is also quite strident in its criticism of current Government energy policies, particularly highlighting the fact that large-scale investment is on hold while the Energy Bill wends its way slowly through Parliament.

Current projections are that the country will need to source £110 billion during the next seven years for effective energy networks, develop low carbon power sources and find new ways to generate power as fossil-fuel stations are decommissioned. The CBI believes that recent government moves to publicise planned electricity market reforms and show support for low-carbon projects are too little, if not too late.

The confusion over government energy strategy and slow pace of statutory changes is fuelling understandable concerns over blackouts and inevitable price hikes. At the same time, around 25% of companies polled do not know about the £3 billion Green Investment Bank which is supposed to promote low carbon investments while 41% of infrastructure providers comment that the Bank is ineffective. According to BusinessGreen, John Cridland, director general of the CBI, says:

“The government must get the Energy Bill onto the statute books and bring forward secondary legislation to give potential investors the certainty to deliver the energy infrastructure we need to keep our lights on in the future.”

BusinessGreen also quotes the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) saying:

“Energy is one of the biggest opportunities to kick-start growth and boost employment. It has a bigger infrastructure investment pipeline than transport, broadband, water and waste combined and the projects are widely spread geographically. “The Energy Bill was passed by an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons and is progressing well through the Lords. We expect it to get Royal Assent by the end of this year.”

We would just reinforce our message that the UK needs simple, fast, effective ways to cut energy consumption, save money and reduce carbon footprint. The full solutions range at SaveMoneyCutCarbon can help businesses do that. Why not call us to discuss your needs on 0333 123 5464 or send us an email.

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