Energy price cap should be extended to other forms of fuel to help rural homes, says Yorkshire peer

The energy price cap should be extended to other forms of fuel to stop countryside communities off the main power grids being hit by even higher energy bills, a Yorkshire peer has claimed.

Baroness Anne McIntosh of Pickering told The Yorkshire Post yesterday that people in northern rural areas often rely on solid fuels, which they end up having to spend on for a larger part of the year than parts of the South where temperatures can be warmer.

Prices of these alternative fuels are also skyrocketing, the Conservative peer said, alongside the surge in price for gas, which is hitting consumers hard nationally.

She raised concerns that the alternative energy sources such as oil, coal and LPG gas do not have a price cap to protect consumers from dramatic rises in costs.

Fiddlers Ferry power station a decommissioned coal fired power station located in Warrington, Cheshire, north west England (PA)

Her intervention comes as concerns over rising wholesale gas prices and the impact on the nation’s bills continue to grow.

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Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Baroness McIntosh said: “If you live in rural North Yorkshire you’re often off the grid, and solid fuels don’t have a price cap.”

A former MP for Thirsk and Malton and Vale of York and the president of a fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action, Baroness McIntosh added that those on low incomes and in the least energy efficient homes end up having to “pay for heating for more months of the year than anybody else”.

“If I come down (to London) from North Yorkshire, it can be about five or six degrees different, so that obviously has to have an impact on fuel prices,” she said.

She added: “I think the rural aspect is that it is off grid so it will be added with the fact they’re not covered by the price cap, so they’re going to have this whack.”

When asked directly if she thought there should be a price cap on other forms of fuel, Baroness McIntosh said: “I don’t understand why this doesn’t work across the board.”

She added: “I think we’ve never faced such a winter where the gas prices have gone up for one reason or another.”

After days of wrangling between businesses and the Government, it is believed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will back a plan put forward by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng which will see taxpayers’ cash supporting energy-intensive industries, such as the steel sector, which have been hit by the price surge.

The move follows an extraordinary Whitehall turf war between Mr Kwarteng and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the MP for Richmond in North Yorkshire, which broke out over the weekend with the Treasury denying there any plans for the Government to act.

However, the head of UK Steel warned yesterday that the package may be no more than a “flimsy sticking plaster” if it does not match similar deals in other countries.

Gareth Stace said: “The key test in this proposal is are we now going to be on an equal footing with steelmakers in Germany?

"If this package results in us still paying 80 per cent more for energy than our competitors in continental Europe, then this will really be a flimsy sticking plaster on what is really a major crisis that we are going through at the moment.”