‘Grave errors’ by Government puts £15 on all energy bills

The Hinkley Point power station deal will add up to £15 to every energy bill in the country due to ‘grave errors’ by the Government, MPs will say today.

Consumers have been dealt a ‘bad hand’ by the Government over the £20 billion nuclear station which will cost many times the original estimate.

MPs are set to voice concerns that billpayers are ‘locked into’ an expensive deal lasting 35 years, asking why the terms were not revisited following the deal in 2013.

MPs will voice concerns that billpayers are being locked into an expensive deal that lasts 35 years

Earlier this year it was revealed that the projected bill for building the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point had soared to almost £20billion and could rise further.

Following a review by its senior executives, energy giant EDF said the cost of the controversial project in Somerset has risen by £1.5 billion to £19.6billion.

The French state controlled firm also warned the project could be delayed for up to 15 months.

This would result in an another £700million in costs, meaning the bill would smash through the £20billion barrier.

It would also mean Hinkley Point C would not start delivering power to the national grid until 2027 – a decade after the first start date proposed by EDF.

Today, the Public Accounts Committee will say the interests of energy consumers were not being protected by the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station deal.

They are to criticise the deal to agree a so-called strike price of £92.50 per megawatt hour of electricity generated by the power station, which will be operated by French energy giant EDF.

The average annual household electricity bill will increase by an estimated £10 to £15 to support the new power station up to 2030, they warned.

This could disproportionately impact on the poorest households, the MPs say, and are demanding to know why the deal hadn’t been reassessed.

The Government agreed provisional terms in 2013, with the Business Department forecasting that consumers will now pay £30 billion in top-up payments over the contract’s 35 years.

This is five times more than the £6 billion expected four years ago, the report says.

Labour MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the committee, will say: ‘Bill-payers have been dealt a bad hand by the Government in its approach to this project.

Labour MP Meg Hillier is expected to say: ‘Bill-payers have been dealt a bad hand by the Government'

Labour MP Meg Hillier is expected to say: ‘Bill-payers have been dealt a bad hand by the Government’

‘Its blinkered determination to agree the Hinkley deal, regardless of changing circumstances, means that for years to come energy consumers will face costs running to many times the original estimate.

‘The Government made some grave strategic errors here and must now explain what it will do to ensure these are not repeated.’

She also says the Government had not spelled out what UK workers and business gained from the Hinkley project.

The committee urged the Government to firm up its ‘vague promises’ of the benefits of the project.

The MPs also believe there is uncertainty over whether the project will be completed on time, warning that if there is a delay, energy security would be put at risk.

‘The other projects using the same reactor technology as Hinkley Point C – in France, Finland and China – have seen significant cost and schedule overruns,’ the report added.

‘Brexit could also have implications for the project due to withdrawal from Euratom, the pan-European atomic energy regulator, and the risk of people with nuclear engineering and science skills moving abroad.’

EDF is funding two-thirds of the plant, which is expected to create more than 25,000 jobs, with China investing the rest.

EDF Energy said in a statement: ‘The cost of Hinkley Point C for customers has not changed and they will pay nothing for its reliable, low carbon electricity until the station is completed.’



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