Power companies hit
Bad news for energy companies and - presumably - good news for those on lowest incomes.
The chancellor wants the power businesses in the current year to treble to £150m what they spend on “social tariffs”. That would mean they would charge less for gas and electricity to those who have least.
There was no detail on precisely how he’ll extract these subsidies from them.
And many of them will grumble.
And there’s a whammy for power generators.
From 2012, they’ll have to bid for their permits to pollute under the emissions trading scheme (they were given them in the first phase of this scheme).
The reason that the power generators, as opposed to other companies, will be hit first with a cost that could be significant is that they are not in competition with overseas companies, but only with each other.
So they would not be put at a competitive disadvantage by this de facto tax.
But when they are hit with this new cost, they will presumably simply pass it on to us.