Saturday 1 December 2012

A Shocking Energy Bill

Under cover of Leveson, the government has published its appalling Energy Bill.  (Quite how successful a piece of news management this was can be gauged by the fact that it received not a single mention in the Mail (normally hostile to greenery) which devoted its entire news section - 14 pages - to his Lordship and Sgt Nightingale.)

The major elements of this Bill - the ill-conceived 'Energy Market Reforms' - had been around for a long time.  But nothing had really prepared us for the scale of dirigiste powers the government is proposing to award itself.

Ordinarily I would consider it part of the service to have digested it for C@W readers.  I may get around to doing this but for now you'll have to forgive me because (a) it's a monster, full of technical stuff, and (b) it makes me gag.  I note that other energy-covering blogs have mostly also failed to come up with detailed instant commentary: let's see what folk come up with in the coming days.

For today let me simply say this: the scale of shameless heavy-duty interventionism envisaged by the authors of this loathsome Bill is such that they are effectively re-nationalising the electricity industry.  (Needless to say this will be done at enormous cost to consumers.)  Is there not one in government who believes in the free market ?



BrianSJ said...

So are there small systems like the one below that run on mains gas?

Antisthenes said...

Free markets are a thing of the past just a passing phase in the way of the socialist juggernaut on it's way to the new beautiful equality and justice for all paradise. Swept away are personal responsibility, self-reliance, freedom of the individual, entrepreneurship and wealth creation. Central planning and control, oligarchy, mediocracy and impoverishment economically, socially and political is the new order. Been tried before and been seen to fail spectacularly? Well yes but what the heck a little thing like failure and incompetent policies and practices will not deter the left on their march to their socialist Utopia.

Elby the Beserk said...

More here Nick

Look as though Agenda 21 is now to be fully implemented - impoverish the people and collapse the industrial economies of the West.

Trouble ahead...

Dick the Prick said...

It kinda makes you wonder if they're Tories at all or just absurdly incompetent. I guess that's for historians and A Level students. Ho hum.

Barnacle Bill said...

Look at the proposals to pay companies if they use less energy.
Using our money to bribe businesses so that the lights will stay on for the plebs.
Can't having rolling brown outs and the proles learning how really useless those windfarms are.
Well not until this lot have got on the EU gravy train.

Electro-Kevin said...


I'm not entirely convinced of the free market.

It creates efficiencies where there is true competition - it then rips the arse out of the consumer when the competition is killed off.

Profit is not a bad word in my book. But profit - not service - is the name of the game and holding the consumer over a barrel is what businesses will do given the chance - even if that means forming cartels instead of killing each other off. The energy companies and railways are a good example.


All free societies have an element of socialism at their heart.

That is what elected governments are meant to be.

Representatives of the people chosen to decide the way in which society's centralised resources are redistributed.

Electro-Kevin said...

BTW - I am totally opposed to greenism. I just think that the utilities have been run badly and without forsight.

Though who ever thought they'd have to deal with such an explosion in population.

Bill Quango MP said...

Thing about Capitalism EK, is it does get results. And everyone benefits. Even when we think we don't , we do.

The original robber rail barons of the Americas, who made for themselves wealth beyond nations, bought up and bankrupted railroads all across America. And every year the price of a rail mile to a passenger fell.
Tesco hasn't increased food prices in the UK. It has risen to its giant stature as food prices have fallen over 30 or more years until, even now, in a recession, food is the smallest % of our income it has ever been.

Nick Drew said...

Not my specialist subject,Brian - but I'm inclined to think that any basic fuel can power a genny

Antisthenes - I get depressed sometimes too, but then I go East, and Markets is what they want: and amazingly enough, in many cases they want us to show them how - they are willing to pay!

Elby - yes I am doing the rounds of other blogs but I think the heavy-duty analysis is yet to come, it's a big, big bugger

DtP - they are (at best) inexperienced and ideologically agnostic eejits; at worst ... [enter your own abuse here: caution, Family Blog]

I can't stand Michael Gove but at least he has some ideology about him

BB - indeed, and several other horrors yet to be unearthed from the small print

EK, yes, well a big subject but on the aspect closest to hand let me at least say that, before this interventionist nonsense started, we were working very satisfactorily towards good levels of competition in the wholesale energy markets: industrial & other larger buyers have had continuous and massive improvement** since 1990 (prior to which they were being ripped off royally)

there was not need to throw it into reverse

more broadly, I am with BQ

[**this doesn't mean continuously falling absolute prices because (of course) prices are driven by global factors. Even so, price DID fall absolutely for a full decade after competition was first introduced]

[the problem for residential buyers is that the regulatory barriers to entry into that market (esp. electricity) are so monumentally high, it has become a cosy oligopoly]

Electro-Kevin said...

I am persuaded.

There is a lot of science involved in all this wealth too. Provided by centralised education and research.

Budgie said...

Even after privatisation we have never really had a free market in electricity. The government always has been involved (compared with cabbages and computers).

In the last decade we have had Bliar's aversion to Nuclear, and rampant CAGW based, Marxist inspired Greenery. The latest bill looks like more of the same. I am not surprised.

None of the 'alternative' generation technologies work efficiently, or work properly, or work at all (as far as the consumer sees). So a CAGW obsessed government 'must' impose them or they won't be used.

For a government ('Tory-led') that sneers at (or is supposed to) the concept of the government 'picking winners' it has sure forgotten that principle when it comes to electricity.

Cascadian said...

The Camoron is working from the same socialist playbook as Obambi, crash the economy then energy savings and carbon reductions follow. No power stations required.

If you survived the seventies you will know what to do-lots of sweaters, candles and talking to the wife in the dark. Or emigrate to Spain.

Elby the Beserk said...


Gove is one of the very few ministers in the coalition I have any respect for. The Free School movement, freeing education from the overbearing state and the even more pernicious NUT is long overdue. How long it will take to recover from the utter disaster that the "one size fits all" education dogma is, god only knows - but this is a start. Education belongs to parents, not the state, and Gove has my full support (he'll be pleased to know :~>>) in this.

As for the Energy Bill, I was about to write to Badger Heath about the pernicious influence of Agenda 21, and the fact that none of us have had any say in the fact that they have inserted themselves at all levels of governments, when along comes the bill to prove my point. I have made my feelings clear to Badger.

Timbo614 said...

I don't think I have ever heard you so mad or angry. Any connection to legislating that people must be put on the lowest tariff, you think? Who is ever going to renew a contract with an energy co.?
As you say re-nationalisation. you can't legislate lowest tariff in a "free market"

Nick Drew said...

so mad or angry

Timbo, you are right

the 'lowest tariff' nonsense is just one small aspect of the entire brainless farago, and unlike most of the government's clusterf***s this one is going to cost serious. national-economy-scale £££

if I can contain myself I shall write more in due course

rwendland said...

ND, do you have any idea how much DECC is estimating total CfD support costs will be?

Running some estimated numbers, I make it that every EDF EPR reactor built will require around £900 million/year CfD support - or £3.6 billionish per year for the four EPR reactors the govt claims it would like EDF to build. That's a big cherry. Will there be any left for wind?

Here are my sums:

1650 * 24 * 365.25 * 0.9 * (120-51) = £898 million

This assumes:

* CfD price of £120/MWh - as EDF was alluding to a few months ago
* Average ordinary wholesale price of £51/MWh (probably a bit out-of-date now)
* 1650 MWe reactor running sweetly at 90% Load Average

The £120/MWh does sound fairly close to the mark now that EDF have increased the Flamanville build cost estimate by a further €2.5bn, to €8.5bn (£7 bn).

Rather a wild 160% over-run on the original €3.3bn cost estimate! Bloomberg reports "The risks in EDF are piling up" - who'd lend them the money for the UK?