Plans to add "a few pounds a year" to people's energy bills in order to pay for the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power plant have been criticised, days ahead of planners' final decision.

If it gets the go-ahead, government bosses plan to use a regulated asset base (RAB) funding model to pay for the nuclear plant on the Suffolk coast.

RAB sees investors paid for the project, before it is completed and begins to produce electricity, with an extra cost added to people's energy bills.

A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) consultation document into the funding model shows that energy-intensive industries, such as factories, will be exempt from the extra cost – but people on Universal Credit will still have to pay.

Alison Downes, from campaign group Stop Sizewell C, said: "The government keeps telling us what good value Sizewell C would be if electricity consumers paid the financing costs during construction, but the proposal to let multi-million pound, energy-intensive businesses off the hook, while families on Universal Credit stump up, make those claims pretty hollow.

"And if the government realised its ambition of building seven dual reactor nuclear stations at once, poor households would have to pay £100 more a year, long before those stations are generating, while high energy using industries pay nothing."

And Green party MP Caroline Lucas told The Guardian: "When energy bills are skyrocketing right in the middle of a cost of living scandal, the last thing that people can afford is the ballooning cost of embryonic nuclear white elephants like Sizewell C.

East Anglian Daily Times: Caroline Lucas Green Party MPCaroline Lucas Green Party MP (Image: PA Media)

“Not only are these projects extremely expensive to build in the first place, with Hinkley Point C now at £26bn without having generated a single watt of energy, the RAB business model passes that enormous upfront cost directly on to the consumer."

A spokeswoman for Sizewell C said: "The financing model for Sizewell C will reduce costs for consumers compared with other schemes. It will add a few pounds a year to bills in the early years of construction and on average around £1 per month during the full construction phase. Everyone will gain from lower costs by having nuclear as part of a future low-carbon energy system.

"The Sizewell C project offers an opportunity to level up Suffolk and provide well-paid jobs to some of those furthest from the job market. We are working with local charities such as Inspire Suffolk and Access Community Trust to widen access to the thousands of jobs and apprenticeships the project will offer."

A BEIS spokesman declined to comment because of the quasi-judicial role government ministers have in the planning process.