Written Answers from Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – Bulb losses

You The exchange below shows one of the costs of the price control and intervention policies of the government. It is part of the events that led me to the conclusion in yesterdays blog that we need to wind back the controls, subsidies and taxes that characterise current energy policy which are deterring investment in new  capacity  , creating dear energy and burdening taxpayers.


 The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (77240):

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the cost has been to the public purse of the losses incurred by Bulb whilst in receipt of Government support. (77240)

Tabled on: 02 November 2022

Graham Stuart:

The administrators published their six monthly progress report in June 2022, as per their statutory obligations. This showed that £901m of funding had been drawn down under their funding agreement with BEIS.

The Special Administrators of Bulb are required by law to keep costs as low as possible and the government continue to engage closely to ensure maximum value for money for taxpayers.

The answer was submitted on 11 Nov 2022 at 13:40.


  1. Mark B
    May 20, 2023

    Good morning.

    . . . the government continue to engage closely to ensure maximum value for money for taxpayers.

    Since when has a loss been seen as ‘value’.

    But it proves that, without government (taxpayer) subsidies and the distorting of markets, so called ‘renewables’ are a folly, and an expensive one at that.

  2. turboterrier
    May 20, 2023

    What sort of money are people like this ready costing us?
    A child in primary school could have thought out that answer.
    With backroom people like this we have not got a cat in hells chance of getting to the truth.

  3. Lifelogic
    May 20, 2023

    “The Special Administrators of Bulb are required by law to keep costs as low as possible” in theory but in practice they benefit from doing the complete reverse so usually do so. The controls on this are almost non existent.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 20, 2023

      Indeed but “to wind back the controls, subsidies and taxes that characterise current energy policy which are deterring investment in new capacity, creating dear energy and burdening taxpayers.” is perhaps too gentle the endless government market rigging need to be demolished, It is surely driven by vested interest and or corruption. Many Lords and MPs clearly state their personal interests in these areas yet remain in positions where they can rig the markets for their benefit.

      Merely stating their personal interests is not sufficient they still have them.

      Not only burdening taxpayers but freezing some of them to death and causing suicides.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        May 20, 2023

        A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it starts adding up to real money. The U.K. and USA will have to default. Hunt thinks we could all just pay our ransom money, make a profit and smile. So silly to ‘talk Britain down’ when he knows we are greedily stashing money away to keep it from kind people like him and Welby, claiming that we can afford to pay when Britain can always afford to pay. It’s indestructible you know.
        BTW we have just has a geothermal quote. Expensive but consistent guaranteed heat. If the Govt. had spent all that windmill money and solar money on geothermal pumps we would be in a far far better place, visually, economically and financially.

        1. Ralph Corderoy
          May 20, 2023

          The USA might have a ‘little’ default soon with short-term Treasuries given the upcoming debt-ceiling wrangle, but both the UK and USA can probably keep printing new money to pay off old debts for some time yet. Of course, this means the pound in your pocket is worth less tomorrow. Inflation is required to chip away at the debt. And wages are sticky so the majority will continue to become poorer, contorting society further as even two full-time workers struggle to support a family. People will move to an alternative currency, the governments will try to stop them.

          There’s an interesting difference between inflation which surprises bond holders and the inflation they expect. The IMF says the former helps erode national debt, but not the latter.

          ‘The evidence presented in this chapter highlights the pattern that inflationary surprises are historically associated with an initial rise in fiscal balances in the short term and a fall in public debt that often persists into the medium term. However, expected inflation is not associated with a fall in debt ratios, stressing that inflating debt away is neither a desirable nor a sustainable strategy. Unexpected inflation may offer some breathing room for debt ratios, but attempts to keep surprising bondholders have historically proved futile or harmful. The impact on debt is more significant for countries with large amounts of debt, especially when it is denominated in local currency, long term, and unindexed. For countries with debt exceeding 50 percent of GDP, each 1 percentage point surprise increase in inflation is estimated to reduce public debt by 0.6 percentage point of GDP, with the effect lasting for several years.’ — On the Path to Policy Normalization, April 2023. https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/FM/Issues/2023/04/03/fiscal-monitor-april-2023

  4. margaret
    May 20, 2023

    Many have said that solar panels are not a good investment, but for the sake of safety, if rationing or switching off electricity / gas occurs for periods of time, then panels are a good back up.. Insurance comes not only in the form of money.

    1. Sharon
      May 20, 2023

      I think solar panels are only good if there is a battery to store, but not guaranteed.

      My son and his family moved into a new house last year with solar panels. The previous owner offered to sell them the solar power battery-backup in the garage to them, at half price – £3000. My son said no thanks. However, the battery was left.

      During a power cut last Autumn, so very little sun, the battery was empty – the lights were still off for three hours! So even with a battery backup, power is not guaranteed!

      But, when it’s sunny, the battery backup has saved them money!

      1. margaret
        May 20, 2023

        Formula down below says that battery back up is too expensive , which is it I wonder ? does it pay? why should the grid refuse permission to use solar power. Many have dinky solar lights in out gardens , does the grid ask for permission for these? Why should they want to control self sufficiency thereby saving electric for other more needy causes? The green party needs to address this as home grown electricity is in keeping with with the green agenda. Whilst individuals are not allowed to pursue a life out of the general mix of man , the control is all too apparent and those who do not try to make it work prefer group think,

    2. formula57
      May 20, 2023

      @ margaret – standard configuration in the home requires solar installations to switch off supply faced with a mains power cut so back-up is not provided. Overcoming this requires a battery installation (and permission from the grid) which is very expensive as Lifelogic explains in a Comment under today’s post on solar panels. Rather than solar, back-up would be better provided by a fossil-fuelled domestic generator.

      1. margaret
        May 20, 2023

        When you talk about permission fro the grid , how much are you talking about?

        1. formula57
          May 20, 2023

          I am not aware there is a charge for permission: your installer has to approach the grid (the “District National Operator” (“DNO”), being the electricity generator serving your area) and explain what is intended, i.e. back-up functionality that “islands” the property from the grid in the event of a grid power cut. If as is unlikely the DNO determines that an upgrade of grid supply is needed (from the standard domestic single phase to three phase) then the probably considerable expense falls upon the home-owner.

  5. Donna
    May 20, 2023

    I’m so glad to learn that the Government is engaging closely to ensure maximum value for taxpayers as it pisses £hundreds of millions of our money away down the drain of socialism, Eco lunacy and incompetence.

    Still, what’s the incentive to do anything different, when Bailey will just conjour up another £100billion or so whenever it becomes necessary to keep the socialist Big State show on the road a bit longer.

  6. John McDonald
    May 20, 2023

    Dear Sir John, the problem here is not actually an issue of to Privatise or to Nationalise, but Globalism. This is really the issue here.
    The Gobalists do not want a country to do it’s own thing and be self-sufficent. They have not permitted Brexit. They are not Democractic.
    Globalism is like Communism, just a bit more subtle.
    It is a factor in the Ukraine-Russia war. Globalism is the West’s version of Communism. No free independent Country’s working together for the common good of their citizens and not the Global elites of the WEF.

    1. Sharon
      May 20, 2023

      John McDonald

      Couldn’t agree more! I believe you are correct.

    2. margaret
      May 20, 2023

      but exports and imports are global already ! the only restrictions are made by the non globalists.

      1. John Hatfield
        May 20, 2023

        Margaret. You are right but if it was only about trade there would be no problem.

  7. BOF
    May 20, 2023

    ‘The Special Administrators of Bulb are required by law to keep costs as low as possible and the government continue to engage closely to ensure maximum value for money for taxpayers.’

    Yet another bunch of beaurocrats to oversee an unnecessary and non productive but very costly activity.

    Our council built some new houses nearby, with ground source heating. They have spent all winter trying to get it working properly and one young couple have moved out because they could not afford the electricity bills!

    1. Bloke
      May 20, 2023

      The question focused on the cost of losses.

      The reply referred to:
      ‘funding agreement’
      ‘costs as low as possible’
      and ‘maximum value for money’ … with a loss of £901 million!

      Wisdom creates beautiful profit. Misleading terms cannot minify ugly loss.

  8. agricola
    May 20, 2023

    Is Bulb Plcosses a new disease newly invented in China. If nothing else government suffers acronym mania.

    One thing is becoming clear, the mad ride to Nett Zero is costing the nation and its people a fortune. Those in government are ignorant of what is going on, as are we, apart from the drain on our wealth. The one light that UK government might wake up to is that our nearest neighbours are bailing out of Nett Zero with rapidity. Germany is felling windmills to mine Lignite, the highly polluting form of coal. When Rishi gets back he has much to think about.

    1. turboterrier
      May 20, 2023

      Steady on there that all might be a step too far. Rishi think????
      Is that a new problem solving process?
      It ain’t going to happen.

  9. glen cullen
    May 20, 2023

    Net-Zero electricity supply subsidy good
    Fossil fuel steel coke mining subsidy bad

    Its got nothing to do with economics or protecting growth …its political and its costing us

    1. agricola
      May 20, 2023

      If windmills have to be subsidised, they cannot produce electricity competitively. Their output is also intermittent and unreliable. At best they have industrial use producing hydrogen.
      I cannot see how importing coal is anywhere near as good as mining our own. Importing energy of any sort is just political virtue signalling, but very transparent. The light is dawning in Europe, Nett Zero is heading for the long grass.

      1. glen cullen
        May 20, 2023

        Agree with all your points

      2. dixie
        May 21, 2023

        1. The oil industry has required subsidy in one form or another throughout.
        2. How sustainable and continual do you think supply of fossil fuels actually is with reliance on LNG tankers from the US and the need to deploy armed forces to the middle east?
        3. what are the true costs for anything we rely on and do we actually pay them?

  10. Ian B
    May 20, 2023

    Sir John

    More Government interference in the ‘Free Market’ economy. The usual one, it is not Government Money! – its taxpayers money. In doing that the Government has undermined competition, in reality they have punished those companies that do it right.

    We read elsewhere today there is an intention for the Government to ‘give’ taxpayer money to a foreign Company if it opens battery manufacture in the UK. Then as an extra sweetener that same company will be given taxpayer money to turn their steel manufacture ‘green’ This is punishing the taxpayer, punishing proper run companies and distorting the very market place that a Conservative would want.

    How about the same support for a UK company, you know the type, the ones that get punished by the Conservative Government by them having a preference of giving ‘our’ money away so is to feed foreign tax regimes. This Conservative Government continually exports UK wealth, seemingly out of spite

  11. Ian B
    May 20, 2023

    @ian B Elsewhere they same architect of this madness has written to the Telegraph saying its you lot out there that is trashing the economy and talking the UK down. He and his department and their 70 year high on taxes hasn’t damaged the UK. His spend, spend spend with other peoples money – probably not correct, spending infers a return, should read his giveaway. His aim to curtail economic activity of UK based companies all of it has nothing to do with him. The man that refuses to ‘manage’

    Inflation has nothing to do with the growth in the ‘Blob’, their pay rises and our money they get without any responsibility or accountability attached. Just as with the PM and the BoE, he has joined the chorus of hitting the media blaming everyone else for his own failures. Is that just in hope or desperation?

  12. turboterrier
    May 20, 2023

    With all our money sloshing about here there and everywhere how is it we keep financing a country perceived to be heavily corrupt with billions?
    Are there any checks and balances in place I ask myself.

  13. dixie
    May 21, 2023

    Excluding lost taxes why has the failure of a private company cost the public purse anything?

Comments are closed.