Why the energy crisis will not be solved by Boris Johnson’s holiday complacency – Andrew Vine

What should the government do to tackle rapidly rising energy bills this winter?

Like others who experienced the power cuts of the early 1970s when the country was plunged into obscurity, it seems to me a failure of the government that the ghosts of a miserable era of decadence and emergency return. haunt us.

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Yet those specters of families sitting in cold, candle-lit rooms, when the heat has gone out and the industry has shut down to save energy, are far too important due to the soaring demand. energy prices.

What should the government do to tackle rapidly rising energy bills this winter?

Some industries, including steel and chemical manufacturing, are warning of shutdowns within days. Meanwhile, the government is bickering over who is responsible for doing something. What a mess.

Even if the National Grid is right and the lights and central heating stay on, the price to pay for doing so is going to hurt.

Hikes of £ 400 for the average household, on top of a 12% energy price hike just imposed, will wreak havoc on countless people.

The country faces a growing energy crisis – but what needs to be done?

The National Energy Action charity predicts that up to 1.7 million more homes will face unaffordable bills by the same time next year.

For some already struggling, winter offers the prospect of choosing between putting food on the table or warming up.

For older people in particular, who use their heating earlier because they feel the cold, the prospect of a dramatic increase in their bills is of great concern.

Two of my relatives, in their 80s and 90s, are already worried about the cost, as their fixed incomes leave little room for price increases.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is responsible for the government’s response to the energy crisis.

Lower interest rates have long deprived them of any savings income for life, and if they are hit by big bills, their only option is to dip into their capital.

There is something broken about the way this country conducts its energy policy if the poor are faced with a choice between heat and food, or retirees have to cut their savings to warm themselves.

Energy companies pointing fingers at fluctuating wholesale gas prices, shrugging their shoulders and saying ‘It’s just market forces’ offer no real answer to domestic or commercial customers struggling and facing bills suddenly unaffordable.

The large companies that have inherited customers from energy suppliers that have gone bankrupt in recent weeks are likely to post increased profits as a result, which is going to be very irritating to all of us who wince when the gas bill and gas bill is over. electricity will arrive.

Equally infuriating is the prospect of a government that clearly expects the public to just smile and put up with it. Seeing optimistic Boris Johnson at his party conference last week, describing a vision of Britain in which all is rosy is seriously at odds with a nation where millions of people will worry about heating their homes .

He also doesn’t appear to be on vacation in Marbella while crucial discussions with the industry take place. Shadows of James Callaghan going on vacation to the Caribbean as garbage piled up in the streets in the winter of 1978/79 when the country was crippled by strikes.

Price hikes will hit particularly hard here in the North, where incomes are lower than in the affluent Southeast, and the Prime Minister’s speech on leveling the economy seems like a far-fetched fantasy.

Long-term strategic failures to ensure Britain’s energy security, such as the lack of gas storage or the slow development of nuclear power plants, cannot in all fairness be blamed on Mr Johnson.

But the money will rightly end with him if the lights go out or if voters in his darling red-walled north seats are pummeled by the cost of keeping warm.

There has been an air of complacency about Mr Johnson about what could yet turn into an energy crisis as there have been gasoline shortages and supermarket shelf shortages so severe that a survey last week found that one in six people had not been able to purchase essential foods in the previous fortnight.

He should be careful, because this complacency could come back to bite him. Mr Johnson is old enough to remember the blackouts of the ’70s, and there is something else he should remember about them.

The face of this crisis became a Tory Prime Minister who seemed complacent and out of touch with the hardships of the British people.

Edward Heath was dismissed from his post in the wake of the energy crisis, with voters concluding he simply had no grip on an issue that was having a devastating effect on millions of people. As a student of history, Mr Johnson would do well to think about it.

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Edward L. Robinett

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