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The Great Energy Debate

With the general elections drawing ever closer, energy has come under close scrutiny with regard to most parties’ manifestos.

But with promises being thrown around left, right and centre, which party has the nation’s best energy interest at heart?

The Green party have today announced that they might back a Labour government. However, they quickly backtracked, pledging to push only for improved energy efficiency yet behind the headlines they have actually attacked Labour’s proposed price freeze.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said that a significant energy efficiency programme is “the only way to permanently bring down energy bills, unlike Labour’s energy price freeze”.

It appears that even before a potential coalition has been made, that the two parties simply can’t agree.

Labour ‘leader’ Ed Miliband – in inverted commas, as if you can find him on the campaign trail you’re a better person than I – remains unperturbed and is still maintaining that the Big 6 need to be dismantled following a cap on energy prices until 2017.

Red Ed said:

“The costs of energy are tumbling down, not because of anything the government or the big six energy firms have done, but because of global changes in oil and gas supply.”

Well now Ed, that’s not quite true and as an ex-energy minister you should really know that. Oil doesn’t have the influence you are suggesting and whilst prices may have dropped on the wholesale energy markets in recent months, their contribution to the overall cost of energy is swallowed up by green levies and government taxes. Quite where then a price freeze would focus simply isn’t clear. As part of a potential coalition with the Green party is Ed really going to dismantle renewable subsidies to deliver cheaper energy.

Chancellor George Osborne said Labour’s energy policy “doesn’t add up”, adding:

“The truth is that under this government energy bills have been falling. But if we’d adopted Ed Miliband’s plan, energy bills would be higher for families and families would be worse off.”

But fear not, taking a somewhat more measured, responsible and democratic approach, the Conservatives have promised to implement CMA recommendations – whatever they may be and whether or not they paint the Big 6 as the bête noire of British industry as many would have you believe.

In addition the Tories, fresh from their latest right to buy home ownership salvo have promised the insulation of a million homes over the next five years to help make Britain more energy efficient. There’s even been talk of cutting environmental levies on energy to help reduce prices – without the need for a promised price freeze.

With the parties at war, the great energy debate is fast dissolving into a catfight while the nation looks on.

One thing is for sure we can rule out a Tory, Labour, Green coalition for this parliament at least.