News is in that the UK has become more dependent on imported energy. And that's very bad news indeed. It's bad news for business, bad news for everyone who has to pay energy bills and bad news for the environment. According to the Department for Energy and Climate Change, the UK is producing less local energy, either from fossil fuels or renewables, and the net energy import dependence has now reached 29 per cent. Fossil fuels account for most of that. The total amount of imported fuel rose by 7.1 per cent each year between 2009 and 2013.
A big problem with this is that imported energy leaves us vulnerable to high, volatile oil and gas prices - prices that are passed down to the consumer. Energy poverty, defined as 'not being able to heat and fuel your home to an adequate level' by the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), is a serious, and growing, social problem in the UK. Thanks to our reliance on imports, as well as the effect of international market regulations, our dependence on fossil fuels and the costs of low-carbon policies to reduce CO2 emissions, energy prices have risen dramatically and are going to keep on rising. The Office for National Statistics shows there was an increase of 55 per cent in energy bills between 2002 and 2012. Quite simply, for many families in the UK this translates to a decline in living standards.
Many commentators have been quick to pin the blame for ever-rising energy bills on environmental taxes, which aim to promote energy efficiency and clean air programmes. But the Committee on Climate Change, an independent government agency, has shown that wholesale cost in the international market accounted for nearly two thirds of the increase in gas and oil prices, while environmental policies only accounted for just 7%. Reducing or eliminating environmental taxes may moderately decrease energy prices in the short term, but it will not tackle the real causes of the increase in energy prices in the long term.
Our fossil-fuel habit not only affects our pocket, of course; it has a huge impact on the environment too. Generating electricity is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The DECC’s figures show that the UK’s net emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide, the main gas produced by fossil fuel use) were estimated to be 474.1 million tonnes in 2012. That's around 4,4% higher than 2011. We know that these emissions are responsible for the greenhouse effect, a natural phenomenon that keeps the Earth’s surface average temperature at about 15 °C. This is the temperature needed for the survival of most living beings (humans included). But we are currently facing an intensification of the greenhouse effect in a very short period of time, leading to an increase in the Earth’s surface average temperature and accelerating global climate change, with serious challenges ahead.
We're already seeing some of the consequences of climate change, which include extreme weather events (hurricanes, flooding, heat waves), desertification, extinction of species unable to adapt to rapidly changing conditions, and even possible changes in the ocean currents that regulate global temperatures.
The moment has come to take action, collaborate to mitigate the effects of climate change accept the challenge of producing and using energy resources in a sustainable manner. We need to reduce our daily energy consumption, increase energy efficiency, demand that the government introduces measures to increase renewable energy sources, and switch to a “reuse and recycle” behaviour.
Why you have to uSwitch
Are you paying too much for the energy you are using?
We at ACE want to play our part by making sure you're not overpaying for the energy you do use. We are in partnership with uSwitch; a free, impartial online and telephone comparison and switching service that helps you to compare gas and electricity prices to make sure you're on the cheapest tariff for you. It only takes a few minutes, uSwitch does all the paperwork for you and you could end save up to £458.
You've got nothing to lose. Give it a go.
We are in partnership with uSwitch, a free online comparison and switching service. uSwitch helps people to compare prices on a wide range of products within the electric and gas sector. Their tools and calculators make it quick and easy for people to get the best deal by comparing prices from a wide range of suppliers in one place. Over 1.5 million people have saved money on their energy bills by switching to more efficient energy sources via uSwitch.
Why do people use uSwitch?
People use uSwitch because we help you find the best product or tariff for your needs. We don't mind who you switch to, we just care that you switch to the right deal for you. Switching suppliers saves our customers hundreds of pounds on their bills and is easy to do. For example, between 1st June 2013 and 30th November 2013, at least 10% of people who switched energy supplier for both gas & electricity with uSwitch.com saved £350 or more.
Switch and Save!
Simply enter your postcode below and follow the short and easy steps to switch to a cheaper gas or electricity provider!
Why compare your gas and electricity?
- It's 100% free and impartial!
- It's Easy! With just a couple of clicks, you can switch to an affordable energy provider of your choosing.
- Energy bills have risen 55% in just 10 years and "there is currently a 284£ difference between the cheapest and most expensive tariff on the market."
Energy Saving Tips
- When cooking don’t forget to keep all lids and covers on, water boils up to 6% faster with a lid on! And if you are an “oven user”, leave the door open when finish so you’ll have an extra heater in the kitchen!
- Keep the fridge and freezer full; it will have to work less while saving energy! And don’t forget to let the food cool down first before keeping it in the fridge.
- Avoid using higher temperatures than 30°C in the washing machine and always is better to let your clothes dry naturally. Both ways you will save energy and your clothes will last longer!
- Don’t be afraid of using the off Switch! Appliances still consuming energy while you aren’t using them…
- How many times have we left lights we are not using on? We should take more care and use energy-saving light bulbs; no doubt we will reduce our energy consumption!
- It is not a joke, turning your thermostat down by 1°C can save you as much as £60 per year! So what about wearing instead warmer clothes on and following the tip while you are at home?
- Leave the car at home and use the public transport… or are you even sporty and brave enough to go to move around with just a bike?