This winter will impact business energy consumers

Article posted

14th Sep 2023

Read time

3-6 min read


Mollie Pinnington

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As the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, consumers across the nation are bracing themselves for the winter chill. This year, however, there is an additional chill in the air - the uncertainty surrounding energy prices. With last year's government support for energy prices no longer guaranteed, consumers are facing the prospect of even higher energy bills during the colder months. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind this predicament and its potential impact on households.

The Vanishing Safety Net

Last year the government stepped up to help consumers through the energy crisis by providing financial relief to households and businesses. Part of this relief package included subsidies and price controls aimed at ensuring that energy bills remained affordable, especially during the winter months. However, as the energy market has gradually returned to some semblance of normalcy, governments have been reevaluating their budgets and shifting their priorities. Unfortunately, this means that the safety net that kept energy prices in check last year is now vanishing.


The Rising Cost of Energy

One of the primary reasons consumers are expected to face worse energy prices this year is the overall increase in energy costs. Energy prices are subject to various factors, including the cost of fuel, maintenance, and infrastructure upgrades. In many regions, the cost of fossil fuels, such as natural gas and oil, has surged due to geopolitical tensions and supply chain disruptions. Additionally, investments in renewable energy sources, while beneficial in the long run, have also put upward pressure on energy prices in the short term.


Government Policy Changes

Another key factor contributing to the uncertainty around energy prices is the shifting landscape of government policies. Governments have traditionally played a crucial role in regulating energy prices and providing assistance to low-income households. However, with changing political administrations and economic priorities, these policies can change dramatically from one year to the next.

For instance, subsidies that were once provided to help consumers cope with high energy bills may be reduced or eliminated altogether. Tax incentives for renewable energy projects, which can help stabilise energy prices in the long term, may not be prioritised in the short term. This policy volatility leaves consumers vulnerable to fluctuations in energy prices, especially during the winter when energy consumption typically peaks.


The Impact on Consumers

The uncertainty surrounding energy prices can have a significant impact on consumers, especially those with limited financial means. Higher energy bills during the winter months can strain household budgets, leading to difficult choices between heating, groceries, and other essentials. Vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and those on fixed incomes, are particularly at risk.

Consumers may also resort to drastic measures to keep their energy bills in check, including reducing their heating or cooling usage to uncomfortable levels or even resorting to unsafe heating methods, which can pose serious health and safety risks.

To mitigate the impact on consumers, it is crucial for governments to take proactive measures. This may include targeted assistance programs for low-income households, continued investment in renewable energy sources to stabilise long-term energy prices, and transparency in communication regarding energy policy changes.

Consumers must also take steps to make their homes more energy-efficient, reducing their overall energy consumption and, in turn, their energy bills. Weatherising homes, upgrading insulation, and investing in energy-efficient appliances can all help offset rising energy costs.

In these challenging times, it is essential for both governments and consumers to work together to ensure that energy remains affordable and accessible, even during the harshest winter months.

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