More energy firms could be busted in the coming weeks, the business secretary warned today as taxpayers prepare for a huge bailout bill.
But Kwasi Quarteng insisted there was no need to panic and dismissed fears of a brutal outage endured during the winter of discontent.
The cabinet minister told MPs: “There is no question of lights going out or people unable to heat their homes.
“They wouldn’t be a three-day work week or back in the 1970s.”
Energy suppliers are grappling with steep hikes in gas prices, rendering them unable to fulfill the promises made to customers.
Many have already hit the wall and those on the verge are begging the government for emergency cash.
Bulb, the UK’s sixth-largest provider, is among the firms seeking a government bailout.
Speaking in the Commons this afternoon, Mr Quarteng said: “Obviously, the global gas situation has had an impact on some of our energy suppliers.
“We have seen four suppliers exit the market in recent weeks and we can expect more companies to exit the market in the coming weeks.”
Companies going down could mean Brits are forced to stump up more by switching suppliers.
Mr Quarteng has held crisis talks with the energy sector to find a solution, but ministers are reluctant to offer relief to smaller providers.
Business Sec said saving consumers money would strengthen the government’s approach to the crisis.
He confirmed to lawmakers that the energy price limit remains in place, protecting customers from sudden spikes.
But it means rising costs are being absorbed by energy firms and putting them at risk of sinking.
The government is not ruling out financial support for large providers – which could reduce costs to taxpayers.
Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband warned that UK households are going to be hit by a “triple whammy” of tax hikes, fuel costs and Universal Credit regeneration this winter.
Q&A: Winter Alert
Why is gas so expensive?
Wholesale gas prices have risen 75 percent this year on global demand as the world recovers from the pandemic and countries compete for reserves.
Will Britain’s gas run out?
No, the minister insists that the country has plenty, most of our supplies coming from the North Sea and topped by underwater pipelines from Norway.
How does this affect the food and beverage supply?
High gas prices forced the closure of two fertilizer factories. They produced CO2 which was supplied to meat processors and brewers. The country’s CO2 supply is set to run out in weeks.
What is the government doing about this?
Business Secretary Quasi Quarteng is in meetings to address any shortfalls.
Some green taxes may be temporarily removed to help energy suppliers.
Will this affect my bills?
The energy price range is increasing. Cheap prices can come in the market.
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