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The last minute amendment

I may have been mistaken. The big story of today may be that at the very end of the Energy Bill debate, the government sneaked in a new amendment that amounts to a decarbonisation target by the back door. As Booker reports:

By 2020, [the amendment] said, Britain must reduce its electricity use by “103 terawatt hours”, rising by 2030 to “154 terawatt hours”. This could have been understood only by someone aware that we currently use each year some 378 “terawatt hours”. So what was being proposed was that this must be cut down in six years by 27 per cent – more than a quarter – rising 10 years later to a cut of more than 40 per cent, or two fifths.

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Reader Comments (66)

And they expect us to use what instead? Moonbeams!!!!

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered Commentersuunderlandsteve

If the check arrives at the end of the month even if you don't go to work, why do the homework?

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

Smart meters will take on a whole new meaning. "Demand reduction meters". Who will decide who can use what amount of electricity under this new rationing system?

I'm glad I've got my generator, but will I be allowed to buy the fuel for it? At least I've got more than enough wood to burn, provided I'm allowed fuel for my chain-saw.

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:35 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

From my reading of the piece and the comments following, the amendment was proposed by none other than Caroline Lucas! I do hope she is happy with the legacy that could accrue from this action - though I like to think some common sense will prevail in between times.

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

This amendment is complete madness- but where are the media reports, just Booker and a few discreetly hidden paragraphs in small print somewhere?

I think this is an incredibly serious and lunatic development but what is our response to be? The government continues on its own way regardless, my own MP just says I don't agree with you, so who else can we turn to?

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

I read Christopher Booker's article late last evening and thought I must have dropped off to sleep, and was having a nightmare. How do these cretins get into Parliament, let alone government? Obviously the few sceptical MPs had left the chamber before the amendment was presented.

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

If those targets are real they are also irrelevant.

They'll be a revolution long before then.

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

This is, from one point of view, good news.

The Great Delusion is not simply going to quietly fade away. It seems inevitable that it will take something pretty unpleasant to provoke the revolt needed to end it. Bringing forward the day when that happens is a lesser evil than letting it drag on for decades more.

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:48 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Is Caroline Lucas any relation to Joe Lucas, aka The Prince of Darkness?

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

As I said in the DT comments - and have since reflected on - I figure we shall soon be getting visits from the new "Government Energy Supply Transmission Abatement Polizei Offizier".

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

It seems as if this did not make it into the final wording of the bill - see the comments at EURefenedum's latest blogging :

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:35 AM | Snotrocket

From my reading of the piece and the comments following, the amendment was proposed by none other than Caroline Lucas!

If Caroline Lucas is sincere in her views, and I have no reason to think she isn't, then she will have no objection to her ideas being tested out in her own constituency. Let the good people of Brighton all have smart meters installed in their homes. Let them get all the energy from renewable sources, and, to ensure no cheating, cut Brighton off from the National Grid.

Then, if decarbonisation is shown to work in Brighton, by all means extend it to the rest of the United Kingdom.

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

p.s. Please excuse typo - I should have spelt EUReferendum like that!

Jun 9, 2013 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

To put this into perspective, even if the government prohibited ALL hot food for EVERYONE, ALL the time, that target would still not be achieved.

Jun 9, 2013 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Greg Barker:

"New clause 2, with its amendment, would require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy to reduce a stated amount of electricity demand by 2020 and 2030 while requiring no use of the price mechanism to reduce demand."

Read it all

Mind-numbing and insane at the same time.


Jun 9, 2013 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterSH

By 2020, [the amendment] said, Britain must reduce its electricity use by “103 terawatt hours”, rising by 2030 to “154 terawatt hours”.

In other words, those fantastic renewable energy fandangles, the ones we are going to have to pay £billions for.....................they are just what it says on the packet - ferkin useless.

Thus, pay billions for not a lot and be forced to use less 'juice', that's communism western Europe style.

Take it, the 'green agenda' to the nth degree...............and - it's back to the land folks.

Jun 9, 2013 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

What's all the fuss about?

This is an easy target to reach. You gradually increase the level of electricity cuts, especially in winter when demand is highest and tiresome to generate. The wrinklies then can't heat their homes, they die, and thus demand and the welfare payments drop.

It's a win/win scenario.

Well done Caroline. I'm sure Leanne Wood would also approve.

Jun 9, 2013 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

A reduction of electrical power by 40% with a rise in population by 20% will kill about 15 million people and the survivors will live in squalor a bit like 3rd World mega cities.

Jun 9, 2013 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

So we are back to rationing. Maybe the government is hoping for a bit of Dunkirk Spirit. During the power cuts Londoners can all go to the tube stations, light oil lamps and sing Vera Lynn songs. A wind-up gramophone would still work.
If my calculations are correct; if this cut is achieved, and over the same 16 year period North Korea increases electricity consumption by 10% pa, by the end we will be using less electricity per head than North Korea. Won't that be an achievement to be proud of.

Jun 9, 2013 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

credit where it is due Richard North picked up on this a few days ago with a post about negawatts

Jun 9, 2013 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenternTropywins

When the blackouts start, the washing goes foetid, the contents of the freezer melt to mush, and the people lose their fix of the “X Factor” and similar tripe, then will the pianos be broken up. If you are a politician, or anyone in the civil service ranking higher than a road-sweeper (interestingly, a maligned but essential task – more so than “outreach officer”), then it would be a good idea to have an exit strategy, and a hidey-hole way out in the sticks.

Jun 9, 2013 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

What? Is this for real? I can understand legislation to prevent pollution - with the usual caveats about what counts as pollution. But why on earth would you limit energy consumption irrespective of the pollution it caused?

So we now may have de facto rationing of energy in the UK even as it becomes increasingly apparent that cagw is a scam. Madness.

Jun 9, 2013 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpence_UK

Quoting myself from unthreaded:

I found this at Warwick Hughes' blog

Black Out. "Only about a fifth of Guinea’s people have access to electricity. With few families able to afford generators, children have discovered the international airport, petrol stations and traffic roundabouts as unlikely places to revise. They are amongst the only places where they will always find light."

Heart breaking.

Jun 9, 2013 at 10:37 AM | Registered CommenterHector Pascal

Oh boy, am I glad I no longer live in England's GREEN and pleasant land.

Jun 9, 2013 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chappell

So to reduce total CO2 output we need to use electric cars and heat pumps , but we now won't have the electricity to run them.

As I understood it totally decarbonise the economy we needed to increase electricity consumption by a factor of 3 i.e to the equivalent of about 132GW 1156TW.h

So either there is a lacked of joined up thinking at DECC or they have given up on the the above and realise the future is gas !

Also does solar PV count towards this new electricity production target - if yes then sticking pannels on the roof isn't going to help ?

Jun 9, 2013 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterrmich60

Hector Pascal
Is that why they are proposing another runway at Heathrow, so that the children can go there and do their homework?

Jun 9, 2013 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

If in doubt about the amendment actually making it into the Bill and voted on, it might be worth checking the latest vesion perhaps in a few days to allow time for homogenization.

Jun 9, 2013 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Lucas is just doing on the quite what the Greens used to do in public, call for massive reductions in energy usage by 'any means ' and at 'any price '
In reality of course its a green myth that people actual 'want ' to waste energy , especially given its cost , so the Lucas and Co are well aware that such ideas can only be achieved through serious negative changes in life styles.

Jun 9, 2013 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

It's what ''Smart Meters'' are for. Remote switching when supplies fall.

Jun 9, 2013 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Seems the UK is all in to build their own Walt Disney World/Epcot starting first with Fantasyland. I'd suggest building a really big Mad Tea Party and serve piping hot tea. It might be the only place to keep from freezing by 2030.

Then you can work on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Pick you MP to be Mr. Toad.

Jun 9, 2013 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

Er, will not this extraordinary addition to the Bill have some impact on this extraordinary government's policy on electric vehicles? Where will be the electric power to charge them? Doh!

Jun 9, 2013 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartinW

A figure close to the quoted “154 terrawatt hours” is given in a DECC report produced by McKinsey and Co, “Capturing the full electricity efficiency potential of the U.K.”, see

They say: “We have identified ~146 TWh (~36% of total demand) of demand reduction potential in 2030.” There are some references to smart meters but they look fairly innocuous, e.g. “Smart metering could provide granular information, breaking the disconnect between electricity use and high bills with a potential impact of 3-5%.”

Jun 9, 2013 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougscot

Time to stock up on tar and feathers methinks

Jun 9, 2013 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave38

SH: Thanks for the link to Hansard. Further reading brought me to this gem from Lucas: "The latest shocking example is last week’s news that the number of homes installing cavity wall insulation has crashed by 97% since the introduction of the green deal. Quite incredulously, I can say that a DECC spokesman is quoted as saying that the early signs are encouraging."

What the f@@@ is it with Greens and the number 97????

Jun 9, 2013 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

We know the guilty parties to this crime against Humanity.

Jun 9, 2013 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Jun 9, 2013 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy
'Let the good people of Brighton all have smart meters installed in their homes. Let them get all the energy from renewable sources, and, to ensure no cheating, cut Brighton off from the National Grid.

Then, if decarbonisation is shown to work in Brighton, by all means extend it to the rest of the United Kingdom.'

Oi Roy! Lucas is, to my great sorrow, my constituency MP but I never voted for this watermelon's lunatic anti-life policies. There are also two other seats in the borough, neither of them 'green'. The council has Green control and at present we have the edifying spectacle of a Green council presiding over a complete collapse of the refuse collection services because of their attitude to employment terms and conditions. The city stinks with the piles of rotting rubbish and uncollected recycling. We are getting a taste of the Green future already - and it stinks.

It's a sick joke, made even sicker and sillier by the fact that the Council Leader bears the name of a popular confectionery item. Jason Kitcat. You couldn't make it up.

Jun 9, 2013 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichieP

Ian E:

It seems as if this did not make it into the final wording of the bill

Surely this is right. This was a proposed amendment by Caroline Lucas on 21st May, Strategy for electricity demand reduction, called NC2 or New Clause 2, which the deputy speaker suggested on Tuesday should be discussed at the same time as the equally snappily-named 'Government new clause 12'. Greg Barker then said:

I therefore hope that hon. Members will withdraw new clause 2 and its amendment (a).

So the government was not seeking to get this hare-brained amendment in on the sly. I can't find where it says that NC2 was indeed withdrawn but it surely didn't make it into the Energy Bill as it made its way to the House of Lords. Christopher Booker has been great over the years but this, happily, is one green scare story too many.

Jun 9, 2013 at 12:17 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Negawatts is just a new terminology for an already developed concept within industry.

The time of use rate is a rate that has different prices for the usage during different chunks of time. Real time pricing is a rate that is going to fluctuate each hour as the changes in the cost of electricity occur. Those who are on this type of plan will have advance knowledge of about a day so they can prepare to use or safe energy on that day. In some cases, they receive a notice an hour before. With critical peak pricing, the rates are a combination of the above two choices.

A provider of energy saving systems

Many companies in industry plan their production to reduce their demand at times of higher cost electricity, nothing new there and even though this works well without intervention it is a sympton of our nanny state, and the green need for social control is coming to the forefront, in the need to legislate instead of allowing the economic benefits to develop at their own pace.

Jun 9, 2013 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Western governments seem to be on a relentless assault on their citizens and reality.

Jun 9, 2013 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

Smart meter socialization is being rolled out, electricty rationing and extortionate prices is the government mandate, as opposed to energy investment.

Smart meters are going to be disgrace and eventually ban heavier users from using electricity at set times and periods.

Jun 9, 2013 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered Commentermike

Oh boy, am I glad I no longer live in England's GREEN and pleasant land.

Jun 9, 2013 at 11:01 AM | David Chappell

If the Green Brigade get their way, perhaps that should read "...England's green unpleasant land."

Jun 9, 2013 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterScottie

Richard Drake and others are right - there was no such amendment to the Energy Bill last week. I started drafting a comment but it got so long that I have written it as a post on my blog:

Was there a last minute amendment to the Energy Bill?

Jun 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

The proposed amendment is not part of the bill. It was defeated: Ayes 245, Noes 312.

Jun 9, 2013 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterSara Chan

Sara Chan

No, Caroline Lucas' proposed amendment was not voted on, it was withdrawn. The vote you refer to was on an amendment proposed by Luciana Berger to clause 10:

Amendment proposed: 1, page 8, line 8, at end insert—

‘( ) Section 41(4)(a) of the Energy Act 2008 (“specified maximum capacity”) is amended as follows: “Specified maximum capacity” means the capacity specified by the Secretary of State by order, which must not be less than 10 megawatts.’.—(Luciana Berger.)

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided:

Ayes 245, Noes 312.

Jun 9, 2013 at 12:54 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

Sara, I agree with Ruth about that particular vote. But I admit I don't see where it says in terms that Ms Lucas withdrew her amendment NC2. Not quite as clearly presented as it might be - but Hansard on the web is still quite something when you compare to my first twenty years as a voter.

Jun 9, 2013 at 1:00 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I think this is the vapid document referenced by Booker:

Of ocurse it isn't new, "MPs Warn: Chris Huhne’s Smart Meters ‘Risk Fiasco’"

This has been happening in the US for sometime and is rolling out constantly. There is some interesting discussion here:
"Perhaps you’ve heard of the Smart Grid initiative. Perhaps you understand that the goal of the initiative is to improve and modernize the nation’s power transmission and distribution networks. Maybe your electric utility has even installed a Smart Meter at your home or business. What you probably don’t know is that the Smart Grid movement is the Trojan Horse of the green agenda, a step toward Cap & Trade."

This is all part of the on-going long term global governance efforts by the UN and all governments are keyed into it. "Climate Change" is the vehicle for delivery:

Jun 9, 2013 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

DennisA: I take a dim view of the UN's efforts in this area but it's also important to be accurate about what our elected representatives actually pass by majority vote. This effort by Caroline Lucas was way outside the current political consensus - though it's striking that Greg Barker didn't feel able to be at all negative about it on advising it should be withdrawn. That's what happens when one segment of the voting public - in this case the greens - feel passionately about an issue: only a few politicians have the guts to call a spade a spade. But that's democracy for you. We should treasure MPs like Graham Stringer, Mark Reckless and Peter Lilley.

Jun 9, 2013 at 1:05 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake - Indeed Hansard is not clear and does not say in so many words that Caroline Lucas' amendment was withdrawn, but I believe this extract gives the evidence that it was:

[Greg Barker] I urge colleagues to support the Government’s amendments and urge Opposition Members not to press their amendments to a Division.

Question put and agreed to.

The 'question' was put to the House of Commons, for MPs to indicate their agreement or otherwise. That was Lucas' opportunity to insist on a division (a vote) on her amendment. There was no division, the government clauses NC11 and NC12 were added to the bill, and the discussion moved on to Clause 10. After that point there was no possibility of Lucas' amendment being considered further.

Jun 9, 2013 at 1:09 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

Yep, that's the way I read it. Such proposals are not formally withdrawn, they just aren't given the time or the dignity of a vote. Really rather different from sneaking in on the sly. And that's important because, with all the hypocrisies of politicians trying to curry favour with very different segments of the population at the same time, like the greens and climate sceptics, we need to know where the current, fudged 'consensus' really is. Lucas remains an outlier. Unfortunately wrecking the economy by trying to pick power generation winners and lock in profits to favoured suppliers years in advance, with all the corruption that can bring, isn't.

Jun 9, 2013 at 1:13 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Greg Barker:

"I am most grateful to the hon. Members for Southampton, Test (Dr Whitehead) and for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) for their thoughtful amendments, which were tabled prior to the Government’s amendments."

How in a month of Sundays does a Tory MP who is supposed to be in favour of liberal markets cuddle up to an anti-capitalist? I suppose any party today need a "green badge", like Sainsbury's needs a Union Jack on their bags of potatoes. But why take it seriously?

Jun 9, 2013 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterSH

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