Thousands of people could see their energy bills rise over a newly proposed EDF power plant in Suffolk.
The new development – which would be based in Sizewell, Suffolk – could add an extra £6 a year to bills if ministers give the green light on a new financing plan.
It is understood that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Treasury will shortly issue a consultation document on the new scheme.
Backers of the plan say it would help bring the cost of nuclear power closer to current market rates.
EDF is currently building a pressurised-water reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset in the UK's first power plant. However, the price of the power it will generate has drawn criticism.
The Treasury struck a deal with EDF that means the UK will pay £92.50 per megawatt-hour, roughly twice the current market rate. The price is indexed to inflation, meaning the final number could be much greater.
EDF wants to build another station at Sizewell in Suffolk. It is understood that the company is confident it could bring construction cost down from Hinkley Point's £20bn to about £16bn.
It is also keen to reduce the financing costs by adopting the new financing model, which is already used in airports and water companies.
This means users pay up front – it has been suggested the Sizewell surcharge could be about £6 on the average annual energy bill. The developers then borrow against that guaranteed stream of income.
Critics of the plan say it shifts risk onto consumers, and point out that the taxpayer will have to pick up the bill if the construction costs turns out to be much greater than predicted.
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