The first reaction is that this price rise is a bad thing, but surely it is no more than has been expected for some time. When the initial media frenzy abates it is likely that the other utility companies will follow suit and undoubtedly the mass consciousness will accept the rise with the usual apathy. Price increases by the Utility companies are inevitable. The rises have always been with us although not always publicised and they will continue. However, for some reason they are seen as a short term problem. Another 12 million or so households into fuel poverty, that’s that, let’s move on.
Renewable energy has, for most average households, large up-front cost which tend to scare people away from investing. There is also the perception that renewable costs are falling and that waiting will provide more for less.
Renewable energy has to be taken with a long term view – 20 to 25 years – but (unlike the rise of the personal computing market in the late 90’s) savings are not made by waiting to invest. With guaranteed returns available now or soon to be available on all renewable energies, lenders are discovering a new low risk market where the feed in tariff and renewable heat incentive can mean lending makes sound commercial sense after the recent disasters of sub-prime. This means that renewable energy is within reach of the majority of households and delaying means a failure to gain sooner from the cheaper energy leaving households open to more difficult decisions when the next round of price rises occur.
In addition, with the housing market continuing to struggle, what better way to improve the saleability of a property. Like triple glazing, cavity wall insulation, a conservatory or double garage, renewable energy can make a property more attractive to a potential buyer. Faced with two identical properties who would not purchase the one that provides the possibility of a regular income stream. Here’s hoping the price rises don’t just fade into the general consciousness, but create a conscience that generates a momentum away from a total reliance on the large utilities and towards energy independence.