Government to hold crisis talks with gas and electricity bosses

Advertisement

Cornwall Insight has warned household energy bills will rise to £3,582 in October

Crisis talks to “bang some heads” will take place between energy sector chiefs and the government after the price cap is expected to hit above £4,200 in January.

Advertisement

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Economy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng will ask gas and electricity company executives to provide a breakdown of expected profits and payouts, as well as investment plans for the next three years.

Education Secretary James Cleverly confirmed the meeting as he tried to downplay concerns about power outages this winter.

Advertisement

Most popular

The Cabinet Secretary said the UK is in a “better position than many” when it comes to domestic energy production, but warned: “It’s not going to be easy.”

Leaked government documents have warned of a “reasonable worst-case scenario” that could result in outages for homes and businesses in January, according to reports, if there is a combination of below-average temperatures and a fall in gas imports.

Advertisement

How much will energy costs rise?

Bills will increase from £1,971 to around £3,582 in October before rising even further in the new year, Cornwall Insight says.

Advertisement

There was widespread anger at Shell, BP and British Gas owner Centrica, who announced record financial results while households grappled with mounting bills.

Mr Cleverly told ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB): “The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Business Secretary are actually urging the leaders of these big energy companies to bang some heads and basically hold them accountable for what they intend to do with those profits.

Advertisement

“The increase in energy costs, driven by the war in Ukraine and a global crisis, is affecting almost everyone around the world, everyone in the developing world is seeing these energy bills increasing.

“What we need to do is make sure we have a short, medium and long-term plan for the Chancellor and the Minister for Economic Affairs to engage these energy companies as part of the short-term response.

Advertisement

“Our system means that once the prime minister has said he is going to step down, there is a well-established principle that an outgoing prime minister should not make very big policy-changing decisions.”

Asked if people should be prepared for blackouts this winter, Mr Cleverly told Sky News: “We have to understand that we’re in a global market, we’re in a global energy market, and the things that are affecting us affect, affect everyone around the world.

Advertisement

“We are in a better position than many when it comes to domestic energy production and there is every reason to believe we can match it.

“It won’t be easy, but we are resilient, we saw through the Covid situation, we are a resourceful, resilient, agile country and we will continue to be.”

Advertisement
Kwasi Kwarteng insisted that Parliament did not have a culture of misogyny

Could Britain Face Power Outages This Winter?

Greg Jackson, founder of energy company Octopus Energy, said homes are “safe” from potential blackouts this winter.

Advertisement

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think the reality is that domestic supplies are secure and that from time to time the industry – sometimes price driven by the way – has voluntarily reduced its energy use.

“So we have a terrible price crisis, but I think the UK is luckier than a lot of our European neighbors because we have a more resilient supply.”

Advertisement

Consumer champion Martin Lewis has urged the two Conservative leaders to set out how they will tackle the energy crisis to alleviate the “mental health damage” facing millions in Britain.

Tory leader Liz Truss has “bizarrely” suggested agreeing support for rising energy bills with the government and her rival Rishi Sunak before the contest is over.

Advertisement

Mr Lewis told GMB: “We are facing a financial emergency here which is risking lives.

“I accept the point that Boris Johnson is leading a zombie government and there is not much he can do, but the two candidates – one of whom will be our prime minister – must join forces in the national interest to tell us the bare minimum of what they will do.

Advertisement

“What we need to hear now – because the mental health harm is obvious to millions of people who are panicking about it – is that we need to hear precise plans.”

For Labour, Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson told BBC Breakfast it was “clear that bigger action will be needed” to tackle rising energy costs.

Advertisement