By Claire West

Many businesses will struggle to afford a three-fold increase in charges to pay for the government’s environmental reforms, according to the Energy Advice Line.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the business electricity price comparison and switching service, said energy bills had already more than doubled since 2004 and many firms would be pushed to the financial brink by the new measures.

His comments follow reports that the government is to allow energy firms to triple the amount they add to customers’ energy bills to pay for renewable power, nuclear and other green measures.

This means the total amount energy suppliers will be able to add to domestic and business electricity bills will rise from £2.35 billion this year to nearly £10 billion by 2020.

“The business community is extremely worried by these measures,” Mr Morgan said. “The government hasn’t specified yet exactly how these increases will apply to the non-domestic sector but there is little doubt they will push up
prices considerably, on top of price hikes in the actual cost of power.

The government needs to make sure that the most vulnerable firms are protected, those in the most energy-intensive industries, for example, and they need reassurance now to end the uncertainty and worry.”