Getting decisions about decarbonisation wrong risks hitting “those who can least afford it”, says Citizens Advice

3 Oct 2019 11:01 AM

Citizens Advice, in its role as the official consumer watchdog for energy, has responded to Ofgem’s State of the Market report, which finds that greenhouse gases fell last year by 2.5%, the smallest reduction since 2012.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, yesterday said:

“The fact that cuts to carbon emissions are slowing down when they should be accelerating brings the government’s decision to legislate for net zero by 2050 into sharp relief. 

“Much of the current debate is focused on the technical questions of how this can be achieved. But there is another public conversation which needs to be had - who pays for the transition to a low-carbon economy and how do they pay?

“Ofgem’s decision to focus on limiting the costs paid by consumers is welcome. But we believe the Treasury is best placed to look comprehensively at the issue of who pays and should establish an independent commission to ensure the costs of reaching net zero are fair to everyone. 

“Current efforts to decarbonise are largely paid for through people’s bills - an approach which disproportionately hits the poorest in society. We cannot get these difficult decisions about decarbonisation wrong, because it will be those who can least afford it who will pay the price.”

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice includes the national charity; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.
  2. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and post. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.
  3. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free, independent support for prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.
  4. Citizens Advice offers Pension Wise services at 500 locations in England and Wales.
  5. Citizens Advice’s services are free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to all regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  6. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  7. For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 to talk in Welsh.
  8. We helped 2.6 million people face to face, by phone, email and webchat in 2017-18. For service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.
  9. Citizens Advice staff are supported by over 23,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 locations in England and Wales.