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« Story time at the Guardian | Main | "Nothing in it is correct" »

It's the greens, stupid

With the cold weather finally upon us, albeit in rather halfhearted fashion, has put out a press release reporting that old folk are going to be switching off the heating rather than switching it up. This has been widely reported

More than 60 per cent of elderly people will ration their heating this winter amid fears over high energy bills, according to a new survey.

As many as two in five (42 per cent) said they would also consider cutting back on food in order to meet the cost of heating their homes, comparison website said.

Hat tip then to Fenbeagle for pointing me to this report by the Competitions and Markets Authority, which found that much of the blame can be laid at the feet of environmentalists and their friends in high places:

...for electricity, the main drivers of 7 domestic price increases from 2009 to 2013 were the costs of social and environmental obligations and network costs...For gas, there has been a broadly even percentage increase in wholesale costs, network costs, obligation costs and indirect costs...


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Reader Comments (43)

I can personally vouch for this.

One of my neighbours is 93, and told me he had had to shut his central heating off last month, except for a couple of hours a day, as he could not afford the bills

Jan 13, 2016 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

For Greens read Solent Green.

Jan 13, 2016 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Soylent, not Solent; however, if the trial is to be carried out in Southampton, perhaps I was just being prescient?

Jan 13, 2016 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

The greenalists have to reduce the population somehow, so hitting the elderly & vulnerable is the simplest way to do it! Much easier than drumming into the yoof 'o t'day about putting something on the end of it & having a sense of moral obligation, I suppose!

Jan 13, 2016 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Our oil fired central heating is cheaper to run than it has been for years. Long may it last.

Jan 13, 2016 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterH

The price of home heating oil has come down from about 68p/litre in 2013 to about 24p/litre today. I shan't be turning my heating down.

As an aside, yesterday was the first time this winter that I lit my woodburner.

Jan 13, 2016 at 11:36 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Freezing and starvation - how great are the Brits of Great Britain after having struggled out of the last glaciation, creating one of the worlds great empires, producing a host of innovations now turning back the clock to the days of Neanderthal where the weak, sick and elderly are simply cast aside to die.

Ironic how the Brit Darwin stumbled upon Evolution's ascent and now the Brit Greens have stumbled upon Evolution's descent.

Somehow fitting, considering how Brits (and the West) vote.

Jan 13, 2016 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

Ultimate blame goes to the bank scarcity merchants.

The fact that they have hijacked green dogma for their own ends is beside the ultimate point.

Once most of the new money goes to monster diesel cars at 0 % .....this makes apparent physical scarcity of basic goods guaranteed.

Without credit banks life would slow down again exposing the huge and now hidden surplus which resides underneath the capitalist (state usury ) iceberg.

Jan 13, 2016 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

In an advanced nation.....

"Official advice issued last week told elderly people unable to afford fuel bills to heat only their living rooms during daytime this winter."

Jan 13, 2016 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

The surplus oil goes to transport , subtracting from all other spheres - this aids GDP growth which now has no human value.

GDP growth is simply the the system rotating at ever faster speeds but getting nowhere.
Adding depreciation to GDP etc.

The banks inflating the cost of stuff .....

The business of the system is to increase the rate of rust production.
To oxidise the surplus as quickly as possible.
Of course this creates epic and pointless hardship.

Jan 13, 2016 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Oh gawd he's off again.

Jan 13, 2016 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Greens forcing useless giant windmills on us is inflating the price of stuff.

Old standby blame the bankers for Fuel Poverty . Or blame immigrants.

What's the matter Guilty Conscience getting to you Dork

Ever wondered why Climate Change Deniers are the way they are ,perhaps thousands of poor people being denied cheap fossil fuel energy and frozen to death in their own homes might have something to do it.

Jan 13, 2016 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Puzzling - I was always told that greens help to prevents colds in winter.

Jan 13, 2016 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

steveta_uk, but only if you eat them and I bet Bob Ward's a bit chewy.

Jan 13, 2016 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Of course the powers that be will call this 'efficiency savings'.

Jan 13, 2016 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

The Government has guaranteed the price per energy unit 20 years in the future for the yet unbuilt EDF nuclear reactor.
This indicates that price of any grid sources will not reflect market reductions in basic fuel prices.
The government is indeed implementing a policy that assumes that the total uk energy demand will be drastically cut in line with the reduction in total installed output.
All the coal fired power stations will be closed.
The last thing that the greens (and government) want is cheap power and the people to use it .

Jan 13, 2016 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBryan

As a result of the Paris climate collaboration, is heating with oil and/or gas to be phased out? If everybody is forced to heat with electricity, they might just aswell electrify the chairs of anyone not able to heat their home.

Jan 13, 2016 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


Again the people involved in the promotion of diffuse energy use on a Industrial scale are not remotely green.
They are corporate whores.
Even these corporate drones are not ultimately responsible as we must all prostitute ourselves as money gets ever scarcer. (Money is hoarded to prevent the bank / state wasting it)

Migration (outsourced reproduction) increases capitalist efficiency on the plantation.
Energy unit use per head decreases / wealth concentration increases , at least until societal collapse.

Again it is the banking states policy.
I do not blame the migrants as such.

Tiny co2
Miss me ?
Believe it or not -
I have been busy cleaning out flood damage.........

Jan 13, 2016 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

[...]which found that much of the blame can be laid at the feet of environmentalists [...]
When I first read that Bish I read it as the blame being on the feat of environmentalists. Then I realised, it is correct, either way.

Jan 13, 2016 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Where does the energy go ?
London's been belt (UK) car market has been booming for 5~ years now.

Europe has experienced a bumper growth of car purchases in 2015.
The Irish jurisdiction has experienced a return to 2008 like levels of waste with 125,000 new cars registered .
A 68 % increase over 2013 levels.
70% of new cars were diesel in 2015.

The IEA oil market reports reflect this waste.
Traffic jams in Ireland are almost back to pre Celtic tiger levels as people desperately scurry to collect purchasing power.
Its the car or old people.
Its not peoples choice anyhow
The banks have made their decision.

The solution to the problem of more cars will be more roads rather then less cars.

Ireland is very much into the 1989 and 1990 car boom phase as the country "recovered " after the mid 80s oil glut.
Of course the future development was a total disaster with long term costs of maintaining the burb culture stretching into infinity
The Bank has decided to repeat the experiment.

Jan 13, 2016 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

"International lentil genome sequencing effort underway"

That's a relief

Jan 13, 2016 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Sponge

London Tomorrow : Greenhouse gases and bioenergy (UEA London Lectures)
FREE ..need to book in advance ..and info
Thursday, January 14, 7PM-9 PM (Drinks reception 6pm)
Deloitte, 2 New Street Square, LONDON EC4A 3BZ
with Prof David Richardson, Vice-Chancellor

It's not listed as live-streamed nor are any more of the London lectures about climate,
but there is a video of the old lecture : Climate change and international trade
Prof Dabo Guan's inaugural lectur
e took place on Tuesday 3 November

Coming up at UEA : a series of 3 lectures on exploring the precautionary principle
Tuesday 2 February 2016, 6:30pm : - Dr Phil Hutchinson
next 17th Feb & 1st March

Tuesday 1 March 2016, 6:30pm
The power of frustration: pioneering clean hydrogen energy - Prof Gregory Wildgoose

Jan 13, 2016 at 2:24 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The sad thing, bodies such as the energysaving trust carbon this carbon that etc, all want people to have central heating, will give 'incentives' to upgrade your boiler to a super efficient one, but the last thing an older person wants is to heat their whole house. Most of my elderly neighbours live in one room at this time of year to save heat and money. Its what they do.

But government agencies believe n central heating.

If cash strapped, when cold, you move into one room.

The most efficient wall mounted gas heater used to be something like a 'Robertson Willey' which could heat quite large rooms but could be 'turned down' very low if desired and had the lowest heating cost in the UK.

But house owners are not informed about these nor 'incentivised' to fit them/

Jan 13, 2016 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Richards

I do voluntary work with the elderly. Whatever you think the situation is about them heating their homes in winter, believe me, it's worse. They know nobody cares.

Just how far are you prepared to go to feel good about yourself?


Jan 13, 2016 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

Jan 13, 2016 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I reckon to be able to identify him by the end of the first sentence. Then just scroll down. He / it never makes sense anyway.

Jan 13, 2016 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Constable

Things aren't much different here in Ontario, Canada. We have a rebate program for those with low incomes to get some money back for energy costs.

My parents live on a state pension and old age security, no private pension, some small savings. They were turned down for the rebate.

The same left-wing government that denies them some relief is now using the issue of low incomes for seniors to bring in a provincial pension.

In other words, my parents are so poor they need their children and grand-children to start paying into a pension scam scheme that will pay them a few dollars a month, which they will need to pay for their higher energy costs because they are too rich for a rebate.

Jan 13, 2016 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligula Jones

Guys who talk about energy but do not understand Rockefeller style demand management.....

Yee guys crack me up.

The car and aviation sector in the western world dominates and warps all before it.

Its why we spend so much time and energy replacing oil use in the other energy spheres.
The wasted effort is gigantic.
The costs are borne by the weakest and during so called "crisis periods " (in reality we have been in permanent crisis for 500years ~ ) by the wage slave middle class.

Oh to become a boy whose job it is to look after the families 2 Blasket island cows for the day.
To read his book and watch the the animals chewing the cud as the sun sets.
English people almost to a man are Alice in Wonderland like rabbits caught in headlights.
They always know the time but forget how to use it.

Jan 13, 2016 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

@ Phillip Bratby - Jan 13, 2016 at 11:36 AM

If that's the case taxes on heating oil must be considerably lower than on petrol & diesel. Neither of those have dropped by anything like the ratio you describe. Methinks an oil fired domestic CHP (does anybody make one?) and using the electricity to charge an electric car might be worth considering...

@TinyCO2 Jan 13, 2016 at 12:44 PM

"I bet Bob Ward's a bit chewy" - No thanks, I'd rather starve...

Jan 13, 2016 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Ward

Can we scrap the CCC, DECC and Ofgem and just have CMA? They seem to know exactly what the energy market in the UK needs. Their paper contains a superb endorsement of the reasoning behind scrapping RO payments for 'renewables' and moving to Cfds. Let the market set the subsidy level for zero carbon energy.

One of the best articles (i.e. I agree with it!) I've read in a long time.

Jan 13, 2016 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

My father wrote to Margaret Thatcher with a suggestion about fuel poverty in the elderly. He used to show the reply from some flunky to anyone who showed an interest. It went along the lines that Mrs Thatcher found the suggestion of great interest. He'd suggested that the elderly might be given a supply of thermal underwear, enabling them to stay warm in every room of the house, and simultaneously making work for textile workers in Lancashire!

There really is no such thing as cold weather, but there is such a thing as inappropriate clothing.

The UK is not a particularly cold place by the standards of many other parts of the world, and I can clearly remember living in the north-east of England in a house lacking central heating, with single glazed windows in steel frames, and a single small coal fire in only one room in the house – a fire that went out long before midnight. The house was no more than a hundred yards from the North Sea. The windows were covered in frost every morning. That was the 1950s, and most houses in England and Wales didn't get central heating for decades after that.

Ee. Tha don't know tha's born, today!

Jan 13, 2016 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoward Yousterby

Capell, it would not be green or sustainable to scrap government organisations.

Far better to burn them, so they can be recycled into heat and CO2.

Jan 13, 2016 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The tax on heating oil is indeed much lower than that on fuel - 10.7p/litre - and VAT is only 5%, not 20%. I'm not sure it's legal to use such fuel to generate electricity however.

Jan 13, 2016 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterH


Tuesday 1 March 2016, 6:30pm
The power of frustration: pioneering clean hydrogen energy - Prof Gregory Wildgoose

"Prof Gregory Wildgoose" oh dear is he on some sort of madcap, frenzied chase? Or, my mind is a galloping....he, must an red injun then.


On a far more serious note, heating; gas and electricity consumer prices and tariffs are regressive in that, they hit the poorest hard, very hard. Verily, a pricing policy which is unconscionable as it is mendaciously set. HMG UK-EU will yadda, yadda on those entitled to relief and exemptions. Contrast and ponder on, an asylum seeker (never paid in) is automatically entitled [huh?] to €40k p/a.

But a generation, even up to the end of rationing during the mid 50's actually who knew the horror and terror of war - real privation, are stoic as they are nobly independent and wherein, the very idea of "on the never, never" - ie credit, is total anathema.

Now, to some this may sound like stupidity but they are a breed apart. Though, kids these days are so soft unappreciative, ill educated and wrapped up in techno-virtualityso tightly reined and thus limited to scweaming the absolute tosh of PC mantras, cossetted - I wonder if, when it comes - how many will kowtow, surrender rather than fight? Why would they, for a generation and a half they have been inculcated with a narrow eyed, narrow minded and rabidly rewritten skewed British history, taught indeed, to hate their own country.


Its already happened - a generation greenwashed and in, a perma stasis of 'Stockholm Syndrome'.

Freeze or starve, pretty soon, we all might not have a choice - it'll be both.

Jan 13, 2016 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

As we move into the coldest part of winter, Greenpeace members should ensure elderly neighbours have their heating switched off to save the planet.

Jan 13, 2016 at 6:30 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

I know this has nothing to do with engineering or good old fashioned common sense, but it's the real reason Britain is in thrall to the Green plague.

<B>Carbon trading could be worth twice that of oil in next decade </B>

The carbon market could become double the size of the vast oil market, according to the new breed of City players who trade greenhouse gas emissions through the EU's emissions trading scheme.

The ETS market may see $3tn (£1.8tn) worth of transactions a year in the next decade or two, according to Andrew Ager, head of emissions trading at Bache Commodities in London, with it even being used as a hedge against falling equities or rising inflation. "It is still a relatively new industry with annual trades of around €300bn every year. But this could grow to around $3tn compared to the $1.5tn market there is for oil.

Jan 13, 2016 at 6:48 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

@ H Jan 13, 2016 at 4:21 PM

"I'm not sure it's legal to use such fuel to generate electricity however"

It certainly isn't legal for transport use directly (the old "Red vs White diesel scenario), but I can't see that using it to generate heat and obtain a by product (electricity) would be a problem? That's exactly what you can do with a gas powered domestic CHP unit (and sell your electricity back to the grid the same as if you had solar panels). I suppose that using the electricity solely to power a car might be different. We all know that mass take-up of electric (or even LPG powered) cars would leave the treasury with a large hole in tax revenues...

Jan 13, 2016 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Ward

The increased deaths of the elderly this winter will be seen by government and the Greens as 'efficiency savings'.

Jan 13, 2016 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered Commenternicholas tesdorf

Dave Ward, I know enough about about fuel duty/tax etc to know I don't know enough.

I cannot see that buying an MOT failure diesel car to generate electricity and heat would incur tax. Powering it with road diesel would be tax paid, red diesel would be less, and old chip fat zero???

Unfortunately old chip fat has a value now. Heating oil should be cheap, but would require some preheat or diesel to enable start up?

Jan 13, 2016 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"Solent Green" is presumably something to do with the untreated discharge into the Solent from Southampton's geothermal system, whose wells are in the Toys R Us car park near the station, and which feed a district heating scheme. Now if it were a fracking well, they'd have the EA all over them with demands for double skinned tanks and transport by armoured convoy to an approved treatment plant. The formation brine is quite nasty, I believe.

Jan 13, 2016 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Dave Ward/GC;

If you can get hold of an old multi-fuel engine that was used to power the military trucks of the 50-70's, such as the US M35 and its European counterparts, they will run on just about anything from chip-fat, heating oil to aviation fuel ( in fact the only thing they dislike is neat petrol), and they usually don't need pre-heat (bear in mind that heating oil contains additives to stop it solidifying in the tank) or diesel for starting up.

Jan 13, 2016 at 11:08 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

The Press Association has dutifully squeezed out a Labour Party puff piece about the Scottish Government cutting 10% off "fuel poverty" payments.

As per usual agitprop "editorial guidelines" across the Newsquest UK fleet of local rags - comments are disabled.

Jan 14, 2016 at 8:33 AM | Registered Commentertomo

I am glad to see that someone has woken up to the fact that we are being robbed and killed of by energy prices. Of course the BBC take was that it was the fault of the energy Companies, not the insane Climate Change Act and the equally insane Dept. of non energy and climate change. I complained to the Competition Commission some time ago about the fact that there was no market, the DECC had offered bribes to wind power and solar in addition to making the Energy Companies use a specified percentage of renewable energy.We have a HoC full of idiots who do not mind how many people lose their jobs or the vulnerable die as long as they can say "we are saving the Earth". They are not doing any such thing, just satisfying their marxist sympathies and feeling good about themselves. Every one of them a hypocrite.

Jan 14, 2016 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

Southampton's geothermal system, whose wells are in the Toys R Us car park near the station, and which feed a district heating scheme. Now if it were a fracking well, they'd have the EA all over them with demands for double skinned tanks and transport by armoured convoy to an approved treatment plant.

Having worked on geothermal , shale and conventional oil & gas wells, I agree 100%.

The light to non-existent oversight by enviro (and H&S) agencies and authorities on the geo wells compared to the others is amazing, and remarked on by all experienced workers there. Despite the equipment, techniques, chemicals, materials and risks being pretty much the same.

Jan 14, 2016 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

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