London, 2 February — After weeks of rumours, it is now widely reported that Boris Johnson will attempt to address the energy crisis by making £6 billion of loans to energy supply companies with the expectation that these are passed on to consumers as rebates of about £200 per household, which is less than a third of the likely £700 a year increase predicted.
This is a lazy, inadequate and dangerous choice, which shows Mr Johnson has no interest in addressing the fundamental failures of the energy and climate policies and is trying to bail out energy sector bosses in order to preserve appearances.
In a nervous and defensive statement, a government spokesman is quoted by the Times as claiming that “This is not about propping up the balance sheets of energy companies.”
The public will not be deceived by this sort of pre-emptive strike. If it looks and sounds like desperate bailout to protect the Net Zero policy and the interests of directors and shareholders, then that is exactly what it is.
The government spokesman promised that: “Every penny they get in loans will be passed on to consumers in the form of rebates.” This is hardly credible.
In reality, consumers will see little of the rebate, and when energy companies are asked to repay the “loans” they will blackmail the government of the day with threats of further increases in consumer bills. The “loans” will all but inevitably be written off.
As we observed in our Guide to Energy Bill Crisis, published on the 12th of January when these ideas were first floated: “These loans would in effect be gifts and would set a shackling precedent for bailouts to the energy sector.”
Dr John Constable, Director of Energy for Net Zero Watch, said:
Loans to the energy companies are a simply terrible idea and show that the No. 10 operation cannot face up to the failure of the green policies which lie behind the current crisis, and are costing consumers well over £10 billion a year.”
Dr Constable continued:
Even Germany has agreed to cut 25 billion Euros of renewables subsidies from energy bills in an effort to protect consumers. Mr Johnson has put Net Zero and energy company shareholders before the public interest. He will not be forgiven.”