Utility Week

Utility Week 24th April 2015

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12 | 24TH - 30TH APRIL 2015 | UTILITY WEEK Lobby Election / Party conferences T he manifesto launch is the final set piece for the major political parties in the run-up to polling day. Their final chance to wow voters. Traditionally, manifestoes comprised a series of pledges outlining what a party would do upon winning a majority aer the election. But in the world of coalition govern- ments we now appear to be living in, giving cast iron guarantees to the electorate can be a dangerous thing to do. Just mention tuition fees to Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg. With Labour and the Conservatives both looking likely to get between 280 and 290 Manifestos under scrutiny The party manifestoes are out, but are they a governmental to-do list, or a starting point for inevitable coaliton negotiations? Mathew Beech takes a look at what's on offer for voters. MPs, their manifestoes are both a plea to vot- ers to push them toward the magic 326 mark and also a series of ambitions and a starting point for the seemingly inevitable coalition negotiations that will have to take place aer 7 May. We have a number of "red lines" already set out – the energy price freeze and replac- ing Trident among them. As to how red and how firm these lines really are, we will only find out when the party bigwigs sit around the table and try and work out what they need to do to form a government. 1m Number of interest-free loans Labour will make available for energy home improvements in the next parliament 30% Lib Dem target market share for non-big six suppliers by 2020 42GW Green Party target for community generation by 2020 3.1m Number of people on better energy tariffs, according to the Conservatives NUMBERS AMID THE FANFARE KEY POINTS OF MAIN PARTY MANIFESTOES Conservative: Light on utility specifics, the Tory manifesto at least acknowledges energy as important, following MP Phillip Lee admitting to Utility Week last month his party did not have a clear energy policy. • The big Tory energy policy is to "halt the spread of subsidised onshore windfarms". They lack public support, so the party will end new subsidies for them. (See this week's interview on page 8 for an alternative view.) • A Conservative government will implement the recommendations of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into the energy sector. • The Conservative commitment to shale gas has made it into the manifesto, with the party pledging to "support the safe development of shale gas". Lib Dems: Building on their record in govern- ment is the key theme – as the Lib Dems try to glean credit for their policies that were introduced in the last parliament. Energy and the environment form a central part to their manifesto. • The setting of a legally binding decarbonisation target range for 2030 for the power sector of 50-100g of CO2/kWh. This can be achieved by expanding renewables to about 60 per cent of the total. • A low-carbon transition fund will be established, using 50 per cent of any tax revenues from shale gas to fund energy efficiency, community energy, low-carbon innovation and renewable heat. • All water-stressed areas will get meters by 2025, and help to develop national social tariffs to protect low income households. Labour: Labour's key policies have been well trailed and the party will be hoping that restating them in the manifesto will give them a fresh impetus and prevent campaign fatigue from setting in. • Labour reaffirmed its commit- ment to freeze energy prices until 2017 while it reforms the market, including creating a new regulator, introducing an energy pool, and separating the vertically integrated big six. • It will set a timetable for the Green Investment Bank to be given additional powers so that it can invest in green businesses and technology. • Water companies will be required to sign up to a national affordability scheme designed to help those struggling to pay their bills.

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