In 2014 we will hopefully be getting the RHI. This will encourage many householders to convert their fossil fuel heating systems to one of the renewable alternatives. One of the other attractions of renewables is the reduced running costs. But will this be of equal benefit to everyone?
Most of us use direct debit to pay our energy bills. The main advantage of this is that it averages out the running cost over the year, making life easier. The energy companies give us credit in winter, which we pay back over the summer. For example, if you have a £1,200 a year bill this will be averaged to £100 a month. But your usage is likely to be over £200 a month in winter and only a few pounds a month in the summer.
On the other hand, many people who are really struggling with their energy bills are on pre-paid electricity and gas meters. If you have one of these hideous things you have to pay for your energy upfront, so you will need to find the full £200 in the winter, month after month. If you don't put the money away in the summer this is going to hit you hardest when the weather is at its worst.
I'm sure the Government could, if it cared, come up with a solution for this problem which will benefit the most needy. I'm not sure a loan from Wonga or an extra jumper is a good solution.