Energy efficiency regulation "bonfire" after Brexit could drive up electricity bills

Courtney Goldsmith
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Britain could re-write energy efficiency laws after Brexit (Source: Getty)

Scrapping energy waste standards on household appliances after Brexit could add £90 to consumers' electricity bills, a new report suggests.

British appliances are becoming increasingly energy efficient because of progressively higher European Union standards. If the UK scraps these tough measures when it leaves the EU, cheaper non-European models, most likely from China, could flood the market.

Analysis by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) found that if all homes opted for less efficient models available on the Chinese market, annual electricity consumption would jump by around 3.5 per cent.

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For comparison, the ECIU pointed out Britain's £20bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant will provide around 7 per cent of the UK’s annual power demand.

“Once outside the EU, Britain will be able to set its own standards on the efficiency of our fridges and hoovers, but heeding calls to throw current standards on a regulation bonfire could leave UK homeowners with an unexpected hike on their bills," said Dr Jonathan Marshall, energy analyst at the ECIU.

Marshall added:

Behind the scenes, successive British governments have led the way in shaping these standards, driving industry to make innovative, less wasteful products and so saving UK bill payers cash. The proof is in the lightbulb which will now last for decades and cost as little as 98p thanks to LED technology.

Together, energy efficiency measures put in place by the government and EU standards have cut £290 off the average dual fuel bill since 2008.

“The fact is that EU energy efficiency standards have saved UK consumers money, reduced the need for more power plants and enhanced energy security. Keeping pace with these standards in future will be vital for British manufacturers’ selling on the continent," said Michael Grubb, professor of international energy and climate change policy at UCL.

“The global trend is towards less wasteful appliances and it’s hard to conceive of any circumstances in which it could make sense to use Brexit as an excuse to weaken efficiency standards here.”

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