Time for tax transparency on energy bills

November 05, 2013 4:33 PM

We've always campaigned for greater transparency about how much we all really pay in tax: far too often the taxes and duties and levies we pay are hidden and all we know is the total price that we have paid for something, inclusive of all taxes.

Energy bills are a case in point, with the green taxes which successive governments have introduced accounting for an ever higher proportion of our households bills - but few people realise this fact.

All that could be about to change, thanks to a cross-party group of peers.

Tomorrow (Wednesday 6th November) the House of Lords is debating the latest stage of the Energy Bill and a new clause is being proposed by Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, Lord Marlesford, Lord Campbell-Savours and the Bishop of Chester which reads as follows:

Transparency for consumers
The power under section 130 to modify energy supply licences may be exercised so as to make provision requiring a licence holder to provide information on a consumer bill that breaks down the total cost charged to the consumer by showing each of—

(a)   the amount that goes to Government environmental levies or programmes;
(b)   the amount that goes to administration costs;
(c)   the amount that goes to wholesale energy costs;
(d)   the amount for raw energy costs; and
(e)   any other categories of cost.

This would mean that consumers would be armed with the real knowledge of where their money was going whenever those dreaded bills hit the doormat. Let's hope the House of Lords backs this eminently sensible measure.

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