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Energy quotas 'needed to tackle fuel poverty'

A system of energy rationing is needed to tackle fuel poverty and ensure cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, a report commissioned by a group of MPs has said.

A system of energy rationing is needed to tackle fuel poverty and ensure cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, a report commissioned by a group of MPs has said.

Under the "tradable energy quotas" (TEQs) scheme, all adults would receive an equal free allocation of units of energy credit, which would be redeemed every time they bought gas and electricity or petrol for cars.

The amount every adult received would be equal but not necessarily enough to meet their needs - forcing people to directly think about their energy use.

Surplus units could be bought and sold, while businesses and government would have to buy their units in a regular auction which would generate money to help shift the economy to a low-carbon footing.

The units could be rated on the basis of how much carbon they produce, as part of efforts to meet national carbon "budgets" and reduce the UK's emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, the report by the Lean Economy Connection for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil said.

Or in times of power scarcity they could be rated on the quantity of energy used, to ensure that everybody gets a fair amount of the available energy and the poor are not left struggling in fuel poverty as prices soar.

Green Party leader and MP Caroline Lucas said: "TEQs have long been Green Party policy as we believe that we need a fair and transparent system to reduce energy demand and give each person a direct connection to the carbon emissions associated with their lifestyle.

"The TEQs scheme would guarantee that the UK's targeted carbon reductions are actually achieved, while ensuring fair shares of available energy."

Jeremy Leggett, the chairman of solar energy company Solarcentury who attended the launch of the report in Parliament, said: "What I like about TEQs is the fairness of it.

"When the energy crunch hits us, government and industry must ensure equitable access to available energy within a national budget.

"TEQs is the kind of approach we will need if we are to mobilise the infrastructure of a zero-carbon future fast, under pressure.

"It would increase the chances of working our way through the grim times to renaissance-through-resilience."

The report warned that without a TEQs system, the UK would struggle to meet its carbon reduction budgets or cope with predicted energy scarcity in the future.

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