People who live in certain areas of the UK will be given £1,000 off their bills a year under new government plans.
Households that are situated close to new pylons and electricity substations are in line to receive the free handout, which could amount to up to £10,000 over a decade.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is set to detail the plans in his Autumn Statement on Wednesday, with the move aiming to reduce the delays to projects due to planning objections.
The move will come alongside plans to halve the time it takes to deliver new electricity networks to seven years, and a prioritisation of the rollout of electric vehicle charging points.
The reforms form part of plans to boost the UK’s economic growth and to help the country hit net zero, officials argue, after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak came under fire for watering down climate plans.
A new “premium” planning service across England would aim to speed up pre-applications services for major applications in exchange for a fee and refunds when not met.
The Treasury has not confirmed who would be paying for the discount on bills but a source with knowledge of the plans argued that expanding the power grid would “unlock global investment for Britain and bring improvements for people across the country, with energy security that will keep energy costs down”.
They added: “And by speeding up the planning system – including the rollout of EV charge points – we will be tackling one of the most common issues raised by businesses who are keen to invest in the UK.”
Industry leaders have welcomed the plans to compensate households affected by pylons, but argue that the discount on bills should not be a “substitute” for supporting more people with energy bills.
The government is facing calls to roll out further cost of living support to households this winter as millions of families are still struggling with expensive bills.
And it’s expected that energy bills will rocket again from January as experts forecast another hike to Ofgem’s energy price cap.
The industry regulator will announce its latest cap on Thursday, with energy consultancy firm Cornwall Insight predicting the average household will see a rise from £1,834 per year to £1,931 – a 5% jump that will take effect from January to March.
Matt Copeland, head of policy at the National Energy Action campaign to eradicate fuel poverty, said: “It’s only right that those affected by pylons are compensated. But this is not a substitute for the UK Government supporting vulnerable people with their sky-high energy bills. Millions of households will be cold at home this winter if no further support is announced in the autumn statement this week.”
The new plans have also been criticised by the Liberal Democrats, with Treasure spokeswoman Sarah Olney saying it would create “a postcode lottery system leaving millions of families still facing higher energy bills while others benefit.”
Labour, meanwhile, will on Sunday announce its “better off plan” to slash household bills by up to £3,000 per year. The opposition has pledged to drive down bills over the next decade by insulating homes, generating cheaper energy, cracking down on unfair insurance practices and driving up housebuilding.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “The economy is not working for working people. After 13 years of economic failure, families are worse off, with higher taxes, higher mortgage payments and prices still rising in the shops.
“Under Keir Starmer’s leadership, the Labour Party has changed and is now the party of economic responsibility. A Labour government’s priority would be growing our economy so we can boost wages, bring down bills and make working people in all parts of the country better off.”