Cameron: ‘Roll back’ green charges to cut energy bills

The prime minister has said green charges need to be “rolled back” to help reduce consumers’ energy bills.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) today, David Cameron said that energy bills have reached “unacceptable levels” and a “frank conversation is needed” on what is putting the bills up.

Cameron told MPs: “We have to have an honest discussion about this £112 of green taxes and regulation and we need to work out what’s necessary.”

A spokesman at Number 10 told Utility Week there will be a review on the what green charges can be removed or scaled back, and what levies need to be kept on energy bills.

Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said Cameron’s comments were “incredibly short sighted and potentially very damaging”.

He added: “With the cost of energy bills going up, policies such as the Energy Company Obligation (Eco) are essential in ensuring the homes of vulnerable and poorer income people are well insulated and will help to keep their bills down in the longer term.”

Greenpeace deputy political director, Joss Garman, said: “Investment in renewable energy can actually help families squeezed by rising bills by reducing consumers’ exposure to the roulette wheel of international gas prices – the main reason for price hikes.

“It was David Cameron himself who championed these green energy levies as opposition leader, and who joined with then energy secretary Ed Miliband to vote them into law.

“He owns these measures every bit as much as the Labour leader – and he should put customers’ interests before the big six energy giants.”

The Prime Minister also announced at PMQs that there will be a “proper competition test carried out over the next year to see if this market can be more competitive”.

The annual audit will be carried out by three regulators: Ofgem; the Office of Fair Trading (OFT); and the Competition and Markets Authority.

They will scrutinise prices, profits, barriers to new entrants and how easy it is for them to expand, and how easy it is for customers to get the best deal.