UK energy crisis – live: Government must act ‘right now’ on prices, industry warns amid factory closure fears – The Independent

<p>Factories and businesses are struggling with rising energy bills</p>

Factories and businesses are struggling with rising energy bills

(PA)

Record energy prices could increase even more as the government is reportedly planning to introduce new “green” charges for gas.

A new strategy will be published before the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow next month, which commits the government to cutting the price of electricity and imposing a levy on gas bills to fund low-carbon heating, according to The Times.

It comes after PM Boris Johnson said Britain aims to produce “clean power” by 2035 as part of a goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has insisted that decarbonising the UK’s power supply would ensure that households are less vulnerable to swings in fossil fuel markets.

Ministers will release a series of consultations before going ahead with the plan, which is likely to start in 2023 and could add £170 a year to gas bills, the newspaper reported.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told the Times: “We’ll set out our upcoming heat and buildings strategy shortly. No decisions have been made.”

Several Tory MPs have joined Labour and the manufacturing industry to call on the government to support factories and businesses struggling with rising energy bills.

Mr Kwarteng met industry leaders on Friday but they failed to find any solutions, the BBC reports.

Labour has accused the government of being in denial about gas prices, which have risen 250 per cent since January.

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Price cap ‘not fit for purpose,’ say heads of energy firms

Heads of energy suppliers have slammed the price cap for consumers as being “not fit for purpose”.

Today, they warned that customers will pay a “huge cost” for firms failing to keep afloat as gas prices hit record highs.

Paul Richards is chief executive of Together Energy, which he said is currently making losses.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The price cap as a mechanism is not fit for industry, nor is it fit for customers.

“When the converse situation arises and the wholesale price starts to drop sharply, the price that will be passed through to customers in April might feel like a very, very poor deal, whereas at the moment the price cap feels like a price that is too good to be true.

“Although customers are protected in the short term I think we’re looking at somewhere between £1 billion to £3 billion in costs that are going to be spread back across business and households as a result of these failed suppliers.”

Utilita Energy’s non-executive chairman Derek Lickorish suggested that the cap is reviewed four times a year.

He said: “The cap is not fit for purpose … The government has to look at means by which they can support not only energy suppliers but also big industry.”

Lamiat Sabin9 October 2021 10:30

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Socialist MPs reiterate calls for nationalisation of energy

Calls for the government to nationalise the energy industry have intensified as the gas price crisis continued this week.

Today, former shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said: “The UK should not bail out energy companies a single penny. We should be taking them into public ownership, immediately.”

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and MP Claudia Webbe both said earlier this week that “it’s time” to nationalise gas and electricity suppliers.

Labour for a Green New Deal said that nationalisation is the “only solution” to energy prices hitting record highs.

People in France have been partially protected from the soaring price of electricity in Europe because the vast majority of the country’s power comes from government-controlled nuclear plants.

Last week, the French government that it is able to postpone rises to energy prices until next April.

Most of the UK’s electricity is produced by power plants burning natural gas.

Lamiat Sabin9 October 2021 10:10

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Weekend papers’ coverage of gas price crisis

Here’s how the national newspapers covered the gas crisis on their front pages:

Lamiat Sabin9 October 2021 09:51

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EU need more gas from Russia, says Kremlin-controlled media

Russian state-owned media have taken the opportunity to report that Western Europe will not be able to survive winter without extra supply of natural gas from Russia.

London-based energy research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie has stated that the only way for “Western Europe to weather a cold winter will be through an additional influx of Russian gas,” Sputnik News reports.

Gas reserves built up over summer in Europe are projected to be at 78 per cent at the end of October – a record low, the website said.

Sputnik News adds that Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom supplies more than 40 per cent of natural gas in the EU.

In France, domestic nuclear energy accounts for most of the supply.

European leaders have been in a long-term negotiation with Russia and Gazprom to increase the supply of gas through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that goes from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea.

Critics have said that Russian president Vladimir Putin is weaponising gas supply to get the EU more reliant on Russia.

Earlier this week, PM Boris Johnson’s spokesman accused Moscow of “choking off” supply to force up prices and put pressure on the EU.

Lamiat Sabin9 October 2021 09:30

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Fracking proponents say gas price crisis is ‘bizarre state of affairs’

Advocates for fracking are urging the government to look again at extracting shale gas, arguing that the controversial method could provide energy for the whole country for decades.

In 2019, PM Boris Johnson announced a moratorium on the hydraulic fracturing of underground shale rock amid concerns for safety, the environment, and earthquakes it may trigger.

As reported by the i newspaper, industry group Onshore Oil and Gas said the global gas price crisis was a “bizarre state of affairs” when gas beneath England could “meet the UK’s gas demand for 50 years”.

Anti-fracking activists from Friends of the Earth said that fracking was “rightly halted” two years ago, and Frack Free Lancashire said fracking “is still as unacceptable as ever given the geological and environmental conditions in the UK.”

Tony Bosworth, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, has told the paper: “The way out of the current gas crisis is not to produce more gas, but to insulate people’s homes and to increase deployment of renewable energy to reduce our reliance on expensive and polluting fossil fuels.”

Lamiat Sabin9 October 2021 09:10

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Manufacturing sectors ‘interlinked,’ group says amid gas cost rise

Different areas of manufacturing are “intrinsically linked” and the failure of one will affect the entire industry, EIUG chairman Dr Richard Leese said.

He told BBC Breakfast: “We’ve already seen the tip of the iceberg with fertiliser consequences – energy intensive industries manufacture goods throughout all supply chains, everything from minerals to paper goods.

“All of that is intrinsically linked, for example, when the fertiliser factory closed or paused, the CO2 is not just needed for food – we use it in the cement industry to supress explosion risk.

“Those goods are used throughout the supply chain, it’s all interlinked, so if one industry sector is affected, we’re all affected.”

Lamiat Sabin9 October 2021 08:50

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Government action needed ‘right now,’ says industry group

Measures to tackle rising energy costs are needed “right now” the chairman of the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) has said.

Dr Richard Leese told BBC Breakfast: “All across the energy intensive industries, they’re equally affected.

“We’ve seen the curtailment in production in the steel and fertiliser sector – that’s had a knock-on impact into the supply chains in the industrial supply chains and domestic supply chains.

“What we’ve done is lay out to government a winter package of measures that we think is needed to prevent those interruptions in supply chains occurring again.

“It’s needed absolutely right now – gas prices are at an unprecedented level and the businesses that manufacture the goods that we need are trying to operate under these unprecedented conditions.”

Lamiat Sabin9 October 2021 08:30

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Energy prices ‘not sustainable’, factory businesses tell minister

British businesses fear shutdowns of factories within weeks as fuel prices rise.

Yesterday, in an emergency conference call with heavy industries, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng was warned that electricity costs five times their normal level were “not sustainable” for firms.

Andrew Woodcock and Anna Isaac have the full story

Lamiat Sabin9 October 2021 08:05

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Good morning. Welcome to The Independent’s rolling energy crisis coverage.

Stay tuned as we bring you the latest updates.

Lamiat Sabin9 October 2021 07:58

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