EU energy plan ‘could cost families £120 a year’

EU renewable energy directives could see electricity bills shoot up and leave pensioners and lower-income families shivering in their beds, according to new research.

A joint briefing paper for the Taxpayer’s Alliance and Global Vision estimates the annual extra cost of the directive for the average family could hit £120.

“People, especially the less well-off and pensioners, will find their bills inexorably continuing to rise,” said Ruth Lea, director of Global Vision.

“Pressing blindly ahead with this scheme will seriously harm the economy and leave pensioners shivering in their beds.”

The figures, which come from a survey of research on the issue by the government’s own Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory reform as well House of Lords data and that provided by leading thinktanks and energy consultancies, indicate the cost of the directives could be prohibitively high for those on lower incomes.

Under the new directives – supported by most environmental groups – Britain would have to increase its use of renewable energy nearly twelve-fold by 2020.

Environmental issues form a key part of today’s two day EU summit, with German chancellor Angela Merkel expressing concerns that charges to European industry for permits to produce CO2 will drive manufacturing companies outside the region.

The European Council meets in Brussels to discuss the renewables directive today and tomorrow.