Monopoly money

How the UK’s electricity distribution network operators are posting big profits

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Britain does not have ‘cripplingly’ high energy prices, however often you might hear that it does. Government data shows that compared with other EU-15 nations, energy costs overall sit close to the average – with gas slightly below and electricity slightly above.

Nevertheless, there is an issue with commercial electricity bills, especially for the most energy- hungry sectors such as steel, ceramics, glass and paper. On average, for example, UK firms in these industries pay around a third more for electricity than in France. This is not down to ‘green’ levies – these have reduced the average domestic energy bill by making energy use more efficient, and heavy industrial users are exempt from most of these charges. So, if the reason is not ‘green’ policy costs, what is it?

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