Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The government policy on bringing down energy bills

. . . appears little more than a call for citizens to negotiate on their own individually with the various energy giants to find the best deals. The government is correct that many people might have lower energy bills if (a) they spent more time comparing their current energy package against competitors and (b) they invested in improved insulation for their homes. However, neither idea is novel - both have been proposed before - and neither idea seems to make much difference. It is notoriously difficult to compare diffierent packages across different companies and the government has done little by way of either legislation or "nudges" to improve the situation. Moreover, the government could provide clearer "nudges" (note: the government claims to support "nudges" and has a Behavioral Insight Team in the Cabinet Office to work out potentially effective nudges on public policy albeit with limited success thus far) to motivate the public to improve insulating their properties ahead of winter.

So not an inspiring "policy" of leaving it to individuals to sort out their own bills without assistance by the state. While this may cohere with the government's idea of the "Big Society," this ideological belief is not evidence-based and it is highly unlikely to make any substantive difference all things equal.

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