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National Audit Office Is Urged To Investigate Soaring Green Energy Levies

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Tim Webb, The Times

Britain’s biggest consumer body has called on the National Audit Office to launch a full-scale investigation into whether households are being ripped off by the soaring green levies on their energy bills.

Which? wants the public spending watchdog to carry out a review every year, arguing that the levies are taxes in all but name and should, therefore, be subject to the same level of scrutiny as taxpayer-funded spending.

The Government has told energy companies to carry out its environmental programmes, leaving them to recover the costs from consumers through extra levies on bills.

Subsidies for wind farm and other low-carbon measures, a new carbon tax and home-insulation programmes currently make up about £185 of a household’s average dual-fuel bill of £1,247 — more than twice the cost of green levies five years ago.

By the end of the decade, households are expected to be forking out £329 for the green levy on a forecast annual bill of £1,487. Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: “The reality is that consumers are essentially being taxed, through their energy bills, to pay for the upgrade of our energy infrastructure. People will not feel confident they are getting a fair deal unless the Government, along with industry and regulators, ensures these costs are open, transparent and subject to robust scrutiny like any other form of taxation.”

In the autumn, the National Audit Office will publish the findings of a one-off inquiry into a number of new subsidies planned for wind farms, nuclear power and other low-carbon plants that will be awarded from 2017 under the Government’s new Energy Bill. Which? wants the spending watchdog to go much further and investigate all green levies every year.

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