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Investment Freeze: Britain Faces Man-Made Energy Crisis

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Steve Hawkes, The Daily Telegraph

Energy company stops all UK investment in offshore wind and new power plants until 2015 election.

Ministers are urged to initiate an immediate review of Britain’s entire green energy strategy or risk forcing household gas and electricity bills up every year for the rest of the decade.

The chief executive of the energy giant Scottish & Southern Energy said on Thursday night it was time for a national debate about the country’s green agenda after unveiling an 8.2 per cent price rise for customers.

The company said annual gas and electricity prices would fall by £110 per household overnight if the Government opted to pay for green energy subsidies and other environmental costs, such as free loft insulation, through the tax system. Alistair Phillips-Davies on Thursday told The Telegraph that green levies imposed by the Government were responsible for a third of the increase being imposed by SSE.

On average, dual-fuel bills for millions of its customers will rise by £111 to £1,465 a year, the highest price ever seen in the country.

British Gas and Npower are both poised to increase bills in the next few days.

Mr Phillips-Davies said: “A price rise is never a good thing to do, but if it focuses everyone on to a debate about what we as a nation should be spending money on, then in one way it will be helpful.

“We need to think about what people really want to pay for; maybe it’s time to retreat from decarbonisation and focus more on the cost of living. I think we have to have a debate about it.

“Do we want to be replacing one bit of [energy] generation that we can keep going for a bit longer with a new bit of generation that’s going to cost more?

He added: “I doubt the public like price increases of this magnitude, but if we carry on firmly behind the green agenda we will continue to have price increases like this.”

He added that SSE, which made a £1.4 billion profit last year, would be stopping all investment in offshore wind and new power plants until the 2015 election because of the acute political uncertainty around energy since Ed Miliband promised a price freeze if Labour wins power.

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