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Cashing In On Our Misery: Britons Forked Out £1m To Energy Firms During Megastorm

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Matthew Davis Daily Express

Energy firms netted a £1 million windfall from the taxpayer as last week’s killer storm ripped across the country.

After 80mph gales swept southern Britain, leaving 500,000 homes without power, much of the electricity generated by the biggest wind farms was deemed surplus to the needs of the National Grid.

That triggered compensation payments to some of the Big Six energy companies, who are major investors in the on-shore wind industry. The handouts, known as constraint payments, totalled almost £1million over 24 hours.

That brings the total paid out to wind farm owners for unused electricity this year to £26million.

The compensation deal will enrage hard-pressed homeowners at a time when they are being hit by inflation-busting price rises of up to 27 per cent.

Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris, who spearheads the parliamentary campaign against on-shore wind farms, branded the payments an outrage.

He said: “For the 5.5 million households living in fuel poverty and the millions more families who face higher bills to heat homes this winter, these constraint payments are an insult. It is money for nothing. The sooner we stop travelling down this road of subsidising expensive and intermittent energy, the better it will be for all of us.”

The figures emerged as a study published by consumer watchdog Which? today reveals heating their homes is the number one worry for Britons this winter.

It also reveals trust in energy firms has plummeted following the latest price increases. The energy industry now ranks lower than bankers and car salesmen.

As the storm began last Sunday, killing five people and causing chaos for Monday morning commuters, a total of £780,000 was paid to wind farm owners.

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