Consumers willing to pay more; UK survey

Most British consumers want electricity from clean sources and are prepared to pay more for it through their electricity bills. This is a key finding is from an opinion poll conducted by MORI for the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group (PRASEG). According to the poll, two out of three people -- 66% -- think that some or all of the existing fossil fuel levy should be kept to fund renewable energy rather than abolished simply to reduce electricity bills. Until the end of October the levy was 10% of electricity bills and mostly used to subsidise nuclear, while only around 10% went to renewables. Now that most of the nuclear industry is privatised, the government is phasing out the levy which has fallen to just 3.7% of electricity bills.

Yet the opinion poll -- conducted in October -- found that one in three people would prefer to see the levy kept in its entirety to fund environmentally friendly forms of energy. At its present level it will raise some £400 million annually. One in five people were prepared to go further, saying they would buy renewable electricity despite higher electricity bills.

The poll was the first serious attempt to gauge British attitudes to the prospect of paying more for renewable-generated electricity. The findings were revealed at a conference in London organised by PRASEG -- a House of Commons all party group. Presenting the results Fanny Calder from PRASEG commented: "The British public wants a green energy future and they are prepared to pay for it."