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Energy bill cut 'a con trick' says Shadow Welsh Secretary

The Shadow Welsh Secretary says energy bills in Wales will still rise despite UK Government action to bring them down. During Wales Questions in the Commons, Owen Smith described as 'a con-trick' a cut of £50 a year announced by SSE which owens SWALEC.

He said that reduction wouldn't offset previously announced increases which would mean that Welsh families would still pay higher bills. He added later that,

It is a con-trick for SSE to claim, as their press release this morning does, that the company is cutting its prices. The small reduction being offered only slightly offsets the 8.2% price hike that a million SWALEC customers were hit with in November. The reality is that even after the Government’s changes to green levies, the average household will still be paying £70 more for their energy than last winter.

Wales has the highest gas and electricity bills of anywhere in the UK, yet our biggest energy provider made £350 million profit last year, allowing it to give inflation-busting pay-outs to shareholders and pay its Chief Executive £755,000, while customers struggle to make ends meet.

It can only do this because it operates in a broken market and the only long-term solution is to reform the market so that customers are no longer ripped off. But we also need a short-term answer to sky-high prices which is why Labour would freeze prices for 20 months while we bring in these reforms.

– Owen Smith MP, Shadow Welsh Secretary

Wales Office Minister Stephen Crabb rejected the accusation and described Labour's price freeze as a proposal which 'has no credibility.'

What we are doing is real practical action that helps families at difficult times and the picture we are seeing in Wales overall is positive.

– Stephen Crabb MP, Wales Office minister

Welsh Govt hits back in Aberystwyth wind turbine row

The Welsh Government is under fire over a wind turbine that it built at its offices in Aberystwyth

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that the turbine cost £48,000, but it generates £5 of electricity a month.

The revelation came as the First Minister Carwyn Jones was officially opening a new super energy efficient house in west Wales.

The building, at Cilgerran in Pembrokeshire, is said to be so eco friendly that it will never have a gas or electricity bill.

Kevin Ashford reports.

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Ten tips: saving energy if you're not in an eco home

  • Turn off unnecessary lights rather than leaving them on. Using TVs and appliances on 'standby' can waste electricity too
  • Use draught excluders for doors, windows and fireplaces
  • Increase loft insulation to limit the heat that escapes
  • When using a kettle, just boil the amount of water you need instead of filling it up!
  • Set your washing machines to operate at a lower temperature
  • Change your light bulbs for low-energy ones
  • For a shower that takes hot water from a boiler, replace your shower head with a more water-efficient one
  • Turn the thermostat down by even just one degree.
  • Take the opportunity of windy weather to dry laundry outside rather than in a tumble dryer
  • Consider cavity wall insulation to keep the heat in.

Visit the Energy Saving Trust for more advice

What's special about this Pembrokeshire eco home?

Specially treated timber is used throughout the house Credit: Western Solar Ltd
  • The home has a built in photovoltaic power supply, which uses sunlight to generate electricity.

  • The company behind the project says the house produces excess energy that can be fed back into the electricity grid, potentially earning its occupants up to £1,000 a year.

  • The windows are triple-glazed. The house is thoroughly insulated through out and features low-power LED lighting.

Revealed: The £75,000 house with no energy bills

The house is said to generate its own power and has an excess worth £1,000. Credit: Western Solar Ltd

A three bedroom house which costs £75,000 to build and will have no gas or electricity bills will be unveiled later today.

The company behind it, Western Solar Ltd, claims the cost of the build will also be recouped as the homes will generate £1,000 worth of excess electricity each year.

The low cost home which has been built in Pembrokeshire will initially only be constructed for Welsh housing associations.

Western Solar, which is based near Cardigan, says there is a long waiting list for the homes but they do plan on building a village of them in the near future.

The kitchen comes with the £75,000 price tag. Credit: Western Solar Ltd

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Shadow Welsh Secretary slams 'gross profiteering' energy price hike

Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith has sharply criticised the decision by SSE to increase energy prices.

Families in Wales are being particularly hard hit by this increase.

Wales – where there are more than one million SSE customers - already suffers from the highest energy bills and lowest levels of disposable income of anywhere in Britain.

This is nothing more than an act of gross profiteering. People in Wales are clearly being ripped off by this energy company and it needs to stop.

People are already suffering under David Cameron's cost of living crisis and now, thanks to his failure to stand up to the big energy companies, consumers will be hit by ever high bills, with SSE increasing prices by nearly 10%. This is a sign that David Cameron only stands up for the privileged few.

If ever there was proof that Ed Miliband was right and we need a freeze on energy prices, this is it.

Labour Leader: Energy rise 'hitting especially hard' in Wales

Labour Leader, Ed Milliband, has taken to Twitter to criticise the announcement that SSE, which owns energy supplier SWALEC, will increase its prices by 8.2% from next month.

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Today’s energy price rise hitting especially hard in Wales where SSE has more than one million customers http://t.co/XMMU9Om6Be

Energy price rise: Your views

With so many households already in fuel poverty, how can they justify more prise rises? People just cant afford to pay anymore!

– Debbie Laughton on Twitter

It's the old I feel sorry for as how many become seriously ill over the winter as they cant afford turn the heating on as gas suppliers keep putting prices up.

– Victoria Robb on Facebook

I was expecting a rise, after all the cold weather is here, so it hasn't come as a surprise at all.

– Jayne O'Connell on Facebook

If you want to share your views on this story, get in touch by email on wales@itv.com, on twitter @ITVWales or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

We'll include some of your comments on our website throughout the day, and on our programme at 6pm tonight.

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