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2013 Energy we can all afford

Judith Ayres has written a report on the event in Sidmouth

Facing up to energy issues

The cost, sources and reliability of energy supplies are of concern to us all. This is why I have been trying to get my head around all the complex issues contained within in the Energy Bill which is going through Parliament at the moment.

In summary its aims are:

  • To put the UK on a path to cut carbon dioxide emissions by some 60% by about 2050, with real progress by 2020;
  • To maintain reliable energy supplies;
  • To promote competitive markets in the UK and beyond, helping to raise the rate of sustainable economic growth and to improve productivity
  • To ensure that every home is adequately and affordably heated.

Feeling somewhat bemused by the complexity of the bill it was very helpful to be able to attend a meeting in Sidmouth in early March organised by the Sid Valley Energy Action Group ( The speakers at this meeting were

All the speakers gave a summary of their perspectives on the issues and although there were marked differences of approach, there was a shared sense of urgency!

Ed Mathew ( explained that his organisation’s aim was to build alliances and develop policies to accelerate investment into two of the most citical low carbon sectors- energy efficiency (insulation was mentioned a lot) and renewable energy.

Cathy Debenham (based in Sidford) explained that her website ( was set up to make it easy to learn about, invest in and enjoy the benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency (insulation was mentioned frequently by her too). From what she said I think this would be a very good site to go to to find out about the Government’s recently introduce Green Deal (also quite complicated!)

Chris Griffiths (CAB East Devon) was approaching the subject from the perspective of an organization many of whose clients are seeking help with a fuel poverty situation. The numbers of people who fall into this category are increasing at an alarming rate. He also explained that CAB acts as a critical friend to the Government in being at the sharp end of seeing the effects of policies etc. CAB has also been given the responsibility for Consumer advocacy by the Government and as such is dealing directly with Utility Companies. Perhaps they might be able to help you with issues over Energy Bills?

Hugo Swire, as one might expect, was promoting the Government’s approach in the Energy Bill and the recently introduced Green Deal. He also admitted the complexities and concerns, indeed the introduction of the Energy Bill is being delayed because of the number of responses to the proposals.

What ever the outcome of this consultation it will undoubtedly affect us all. I hope the contacts mentioned above might provide a good starting place for you whatever your energy concerns may be now or in the future. –  Judith Ayres