By Marcus Leach

The long-awaited Energy Bill was announced by the government today (Friday), as they look to reduce emissions.

Under the new bill the government will allow energy companies to charge households an extra £7.6 billion, to go towards low-carbon electricity infrastructure by 2020.

A decision about setting carbon emission targets for 2030 has been delayed until 2016, after the election.

James Constant, Chair of EnergyForecaster.co.uk, has criticised the decision to allow energy companies to charge higher rates for energy.

“The impact of these increased costs will be a serious concern for businesses if it is applied to them," he said.

“While the exact rise to business energy bills is currently unknown, we predict the Energy Bill will continually push bills up for businesses over the next decade. Our most recent Business Energy Barometer showed that as many as up to 300,000 companies could go out of business if energy bills continue to rise by 15%/annum, which looks increasingly likely due to these increases.

“It is admirable that the government is trying to place a greater importance on environmental goals. However, in the face of economic difficulties, it is questionable whether this is the best way to do it when considering the possible negative impact on businesses in the UK."

Labour, hardly surprisingly, have said the bill is a "humiliating failure" by the Lib Dems. Environmentalists also condemned the bill, saying it would make it very hard to meet the UK's law on climate change.

Details of the bill were announced late on Thursday although the bill itself will not be published until next week.

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