High energy bills blamed on corporate profits, Russia and growing global demand

According to a survey, people blame high energy bills on energy company profits, cuts in supplies by the Russian government and growing demand for gas around the world.

According to a survey by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), only 13% of respondents believed that environmental levies and taxes were among the factors most responsible for high energy bills.

That compares with more than a third (34%) who pointed to energy company profit as a key driver of rising bills, according to the survey of more than 2,000 people by Opinion Research.

Some 29% thought the Russian government’s cut in gas supplies to Europe was one of the most to blame, while almost as many thought the world’s growing demand for gas (28%) was a key issue.

Only one in eight (13%) thought the best short-term solution to the problem was to remove green levies on bills that fund renewable energy, insulation and support for low-income people.

The most popular option to deal with high bills was the reduction of the VAT rate on energy, which was supported by almost a quarter (24%), and a one-off tax on large energy companies, supported by almost a fifth (19%).

As for long-term solutions, the most popular was to reduce dependence on gas and use more renewable energy, with more than a third of people (36%) supporting this decision.

Around 15% thought the best thing to do was improve home insulation rates, while just 9% supported more oil and gas drilling in the North Sea, 8% supported fracking and 5% wanted to open more coal mines to develop coal power.

High energy bills have prompted some quarters to call for cuts in green levies and question whether targets for reducing global greenhouse gases to zero – known as “net zero” – by 2050 are affordable. .

But the poll showed nearly three-quarters (73%) of people supported the climate target and only 14% opposed it.

Less than a third (29%) think ‘we can’t afford’ policies to tackle climate change, but more than half (54%) think ‘we can’t afford not’ implement measures to combat the problem.

A majority of people backed zero interest loans for home insulation, government grants of £5,000 to replace boilers, grants of up to £2,500 for electric vehicles, an end to sales of new petrol and diesel cars and the phasing out of gas boilers in favor of heat. pumps.

Responding to the findings, Tory MP Chris Skidmore said: “While we need government support for struggling households now, we also need long-term solutions that protect UK billpayers from future surges in prices driven by international volatility, including Russian interference.

“The simple answer is for us to use less gas.”

Mr Skidmore said more support is needed for schemes to make homes more energy efficient, while more also needs to be done to boost Britain’s renewables.

Dr Simon Cran-McGreehin, Head of Analysis at the ECIU, said: “The public finger is clearly on the pulse, correctly identifying Russian interference and global gas demand as the causes of the current gas crisis. gas, while noting that the profits of gas companies are increasing alongside gas prices.

“They understand that gas bought in the UK is part of an international market, the price of which is determined by international forces.”

He added: ‘Net zero measures such as isolating and boosting UK renewables are saving people money during this gas crisis.’

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