Thank you for contacting me about the Energy Act.
As you are aware, in reaction to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, global energy prices soared to unprecedented levels. The Government acted swiftly last winter to help UK families and businesses, covering around half a typical household’s energy bill and around half of wholesale energy costs for some businesses. In 2023, the Government also published 'Powering Up Britain’ which reconciles our Energy Security Plan with the Net Zero Growth Plan to transform our energy system, achieve net zero by 2050 and boost economic growth. Importantly, it promotes greater energy independence through low-carbon technologies.
The Government’s landmark Energy Act is essential to this transformation. The Act will increase the resilience and reliability of UK energy systems, support the delivery of climate change commitments while minimising consumer costs and providing protection against unfair pricing. To enable this, the Act is structured around three key pillars: liberating investment in clean technologies; reforming the UK’s energy system so it is fit for the future; while maintaining the safety, security and resilience of the UK’s energy sources.
Criminal Offences - I am aware of concerns that powers in this Act may be used to fine people up to £15,000 or face one year in prison for failing to meet energy efficiency standards. I can assure you that this legislation will not extend to requiring building owners to retrofit their homes, so there would not be a sanction for failing to do so. There are existing criminal offences in the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations. These offences relate to unauthorised disclosure of data and obstructing and impersonating an enforcement officer. I would like to reassure you that there is no intention to create new offences and have set out in the primary power the ‘upper limit’ on any penalty which may be imposed for any criminal offence.
Achieving net zero is a top priority for the UK, which, in turn, will reduce dependency on Russian energy. I am confident that the UK will continue to invest in renewable technologies and find ways of increasing home energy efficiency across the country.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP