Tuesday 12 February 2013

Bamboozling Britain on Energy Bills

I don't know if anyone's noticed but the government has recently overhauled its many websites into a fairly uniform GOV.UK set-up.  They were pretty anarchic before, it must be said.  Now, the gov-site I go to most often (DECC) is more difficult to navigate - but it does look a bit cleaner.

At the same time, I detect they have seriously decided to get their presentational act together.  In the case of DECC (and, I've no doubt, lots of others too that I am unable to judge) this means systematically dissembling on the impacts of its ridiculous policies.  Perhaps, following Galbraith's famous 'bezzle' coinage, we should call it the 'boozle'.  And it's a biggie.

Yes, when it comes to lying about the future policy-driven costs of electricity, the government has long ago decided to Tell A Big One, summarised briefly as "OK, your bills will go up a little bit in the early years, but later they will fall (relative to what we say they would have been without our policies, fingers crossed)".  It's worth unpicking exactly how they get to the numbers in this jolly chart, which greenies everywhere have really taken to, but which contains several questionable numbers and one massive, entirely fraudulent sleight of hand.
DECC's  Boozle
We've mentioned before that, as DECC have admitted, this argument completely falls if gas prices fall.  But let's look at some of the detailed components of their asserted 'saving' of £93.

Costs they acknowledge:  as a first pass, we can probably assume most of the elements of the '+£280' are tolerably good estimates, but there are some important points to add:  (1) 'EMR support' is planned to rise significantly after 2020, as the supposed new nukes start claiming whatever is to be their grotesque subsidy, and the capacity mechanism bites.  So +41 is only the start.  (2) Personally I don't envisage doing a 'Green Deal' at Schloss Drew, so I can ignore the +20 of loan repayment.  (3) Just look at the transfer payment represented by the biggest single number, +70 for ECO support (a scheme "to subsidise energy efficiency measures for low income households") - this is you and me paying for social policy in a way the government hopes we won't notice. (4) Some estimates of the cost of smart metering etc are a lot higher than +3

Savings they claim:  this is where the boozle really gets motoring.  I don't know enough to challenge the -158 'Products Policy' and -89 'previous efficiency policies', but boy, those are big numbers.  And - they are also in the bag already !  Sunk costs, so to speak.  Nothing to do with avoidable policy-costs going forward.  We could stop now, and these gains (whatever the numbers should be) would still be ours.

Additionally:  (1) the Drew family won't qualify for -53 'ECO / Green Deal' or -16 'Warm Home Discount'.  (2) -37 'smart meters' sounds pretty optimistic.  (3) -20 'wholesale price impact of EMR' etc is flaky to the point of being an outright punt, it could easily be a net cost.

So: I could re-frame these same numbers for my own circumstances and the -93 diminishes to -49.  I could - indeed, I do - diskard utterly the -20 as the flake-job it is.  I could add 20 (or more) to EMR support for the years after 2020.  I could inject another 30 of modest skepticism on smart meters, etc etc.  And then I rightfully ignore the already-captured policy-gains of 158+89, because that's in the past.  You can do the mournful maths for yourself.

So - going forward, The Current Policies Are Going To Cost Me Much, Much More!  You too, I'm guessing.  And the government itself acknowledges I'll have been paying more between now and 2020 anyway ...

Damn them and their wretched boozle !



Jan said...

Don't worry about the maths. We know our bills always go up. Time to downsize to a well-insulated modern (so draught-free) box and pile on the jumpers and leg-warmers.

Nick Drew said...

I think you are right, Jan - this 'Passivhaus' thingy looks rather impressive

Budgie said...

Do they specify the degree days expected for their "average bills". And are the d-d less in 2020 than 2010 (which you would certainly expect with catastrophic man made global warming)? Just askin.

Blue Eyes said...

Ah, but what about the effect of a slipping pound and/or the benefit of national energy security?

I reckon that takes off a notional 14,000 pounds by 2020.

Demetrius said...

This rather assumes that the power will be available. The way our policies are going there will be so many power cuts and failures of supply that we will all be using far less than anyone expects.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Passiv houses are pretty good when built by Helmut under TUV (no umlauts to hand I'm afraid) rules... but I wouldn't be so sure that Paddy and Woijiech will reach the same exalted level of draft exclusion. I recall my first house had floating joists and all sorts of horrors that came to light when adding an extension. My friendly veteran builder who sorted it all out assured me cheerily "ah, they're nearly all like that - there was always one good one on a new estate for the building inspector to look at, all the rest are always shit. At least you've got one or two straight lines"

FWIW we need to abolish DECC, abolish subsidies, and let the market rip. Alternatively we could go back to the CEGB and put the engineers back in charge; at least then the lights won't go out. At the moment we have the worst of all worlds, a corporate kleptocracy incompetently presided over by crypto-commie envirocunts.

Anonymous said...

£1379 in 2020?

Phone up your supplier now and ask for the average costs and they'll say it's already about £1400 (something like 3000-3500 units).

Where are they getting £1379 from? And that footnote about "figures may not add due to rounding". You always make the numbers add up, often by adjusting the largest number to fit.

Electro-Kevin said...

"...going forward."

How could you, Nick !


Nick Drew said...

at least I am not 'on a journey', Kev

or begging any questions

Electro-Kevin said...

I echo that, Nick.

CityUnslicker said...

great piece, I found myself in total agreement with Mr Weetabix.

rwendland said...

Too right that more would be added to EMR support post 2020. My back-of-envelope formula (posted earlier) for supporting a single EDF EPR works out at between £13 and £23 per houshold. So if EDF were to build the four the govt hoped for that's between £52 and £92 per houshold.

The £92 support is based on current leccy prices, £52 assumes they go up to the equiv of £70/MWh at 2013 pricing so less support needed.

Agence communication said...

well said ... i like it more as well as i enjoy it "" At the same time, I detect they have seriously decided to get their presentational act together. In the case of DECC (and, I've no doubt, lots of others too that I am unable to judge) this means systematically dissembling on the impacts of its ridiculous policies. Perhaps, following Galbraith's famous 'bezzle' coinage, we should call it the 'boozle'. And it's a biggie.