The UK Government published details of the Energy Bill last night. And it seems fair to say that it spells both good and bad news for the nation’s Energy companies.
Those operating in the renewables sector can potentially grab a larger slice of the energy pie because of the government’s £7.6 billion package of investment. On the other hand, the lack of a decarbonisation target is seen as a blow to this sector and could increase the pace of the ‘dash for gas’. Also, renewable companies, and wind in particular, are already having the finger pointed at them as being a reason for rising energy bills, and face a PR battle in terms of convincing consumers on the benefits of this type of generation.
With all the controversy surrounding the Energy Bill, we turned to The Guardian’s Live Blog, which provides an extremely useful analysis backed-up by accurate stats in response to conflicting claims on how much the required investment in renewables will cost consumers: “…the correct figure for what we’re going to be paying on energy bills for nuclear and renewables by 2020 is £95 in today’s prices, a DECC spokeswoman points out.” The BBC has also published a comprehensive Q&A, while businessGreen offers a handy compilation of reactionary quotes.
So what does the Energy Bill mean for Energy PR? For renewable companies facing a potential backlash from consumers over the increasing cost of their energy, they should focus their efforts on communicating accurate statistics to the consumer and explain the long-term benefits and return from renewables, carbon reduction, and job opportunities. For the more traditional energy companies, while the decarbonisation target is missing, it makes business sense, not just ethical, to keep the focus on curbing emissions and improving safety.