On 8th January 2015 the Bishop of Chester, Rt Rev Peter Forster, asked an oral question on importing electricity.
On 18th August 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received answers to two written question on energy meters for lower income households.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the use of prepayment meters on the ability of lower income households to pay their energy bills.
Baroness Northover: Since 2010, all major suppliers have voluntarily equalised tariffs between prepayment customers and standard credit customers but the price differential between customers using pre-payment meters (PPM) and those paying by direct debit can be more than £100 for a dual-fuel customer.
Whilst paying by PPM is more common among fuel poor than non-fuel poor households, a majority of fuel poor customer pay by other payment methods.
Of households who were fuel poor in England in 2012, around 27% paid for their electricity and 22% paid for their gas through PPM. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans: Energy Meters (Written Answers)”
On 12th May 2014, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, received answers to three written questions on benefits, electricity and housing.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the financial impact on people on low incomes of uprating most cash benefits and tax credits by one per cent from April 2013 rather than in line with inflation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): For 2013/14, the main rates of working-age benefits, statutory payments and tax credits were up-rated by one per cent in the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2013. The Welfare Benefits Up-rating Act 2013 provided for the one per cent increase to apply for 2014/15 and 2015/16. Both of these were accompanied by Impact Assessments.
As part of his ongoing public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010 to monitor impacts on “protected groups”, the Secretary of State continues to monitor the impacts of the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Act 2013 in light of any changes to the underlying rate of inflation. The underlying rate of inflation for increases in 2014/15 is similar to that forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility and used in the Impact Assessment. It is therefore likely that the impacts on affected households will be broadly similar to those detailed in the Impact Assessment.
The Lord Bishop of Chester asked Her Majesty’s Government what amount and proportion of the United Kingdom’s electricity requirement in 2013 was met by inputs through interconnectors with other countries; and how much electricity the United Kingdom exported during 2013.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): The table below shows UK imports and exports of electricity, in GWh, January 2013 to September 2013. Data for 2013 as a whole will be available on 28th March 2014.
|Imports and Exports in the UK for January-September 2013 in GWh|
|-as % of electricity supply||4.00%|
Source: Energy Trends table 5.2 available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electricity-section-5-energy-trends
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Office of Fair Trading about securing an affordable energy supply for rural households that are off the gas grid.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): Representatives of the Office of Fair Trading attend the Roundtable meetings chaired by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Minister of State for Energy. The Roundtable brings together Government, regulators, advisory and charitable bodies, the fuel supply industry and others to work together to improve the security and affordability of off-grid fuel supply.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the energy companies about reducing the price of electricity paid by households that are not dual fuel customers because they do not have access to the gas grid.
Baroness Verma: DECC Ministers regularly meet with energy supply companies to discuss a range of energy issues. Electricity prices for household consumers are a commercial matter for the companies concerned.
On 28th October 2013, the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres, took part in the Report Stage debate of the Government’s Energy Bill. He tabled an amendment to the Bill, which sought to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy setting out cost-effective policies to achieve a reduction
in demand for electricity, including specific targets for reductions to be made by 2020 and 2030. Following the debate on the Amendment, the Bishop did not move it to a vote.
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, biblical studies teach me that when you have two amendments that look as much alike as my amendment and that of the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, you must look for an Ur-text. Indeed, there is an Ur-text, as we all know, and the figures in my amendment are simply the latest figures available from the Government. This is intended to be a constructive and supportive amendment, which also reflects the concern mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Roper, about the sole emphasis on the capacity market not really catching the full subject here.
According to the Secretary of State in his own foreword to the response to the consultation, which was published in May of this year, a 9% reduction in overall demand could save electricity equivalent to the output of four power stations in one year. I do not want to pose as an expert, of which there are many in this House, but I have been trying in my own diocese of London to improve energy efficiency. I have taken a keen personal interest in the various efforts and our churches have actually achieved a 22% saving in energy consumption between 2005 and 2011. Continue reading “Bishop of London presses for reduction in demand for electricity during consideration of Energy Bill”