UK govt rules out winter gas supply emergency

Britain’s Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth Kwasi Kwarteng arrives at Downing Street in London February 11, 2020. — Reuters pic
Britain’s Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth Kwasi Kwarteng arrives at Downing Street in London February 11, 2020. — Reuters pic

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LONDON, Sept 20 — Britain’s government does not expect a gas supply emergency during the winter as soaring prices threaten suppliers, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told parliament today.

“We have sufficient capacity, and more than sufficient capacity, to meet demand and we do not expect supply emergencies to occur this winter,” Kwarteng said after an emergency meeting with energy suppliers and consumer groups.

Kwarteng said protecting consumers was the government’s “primary focus”, adding that it would not bail out any energy company.

“There is absolutely no question... of the lights going out or people being unable to heat their homes,” he added.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier sought to reassure consumers fearing surging winter power bills and the possibility of small British energy firms collapsing from higher costs.

It comes as wholesale gas prices in Britain soared by a further 15 per cent today.

“The government will not be bailing out failed companies,” Kwarteng told parliament. 

“The taxpayer should not be expected to prop up companies which have poor business models and are not resilient to fluctuations in price,” he added. — AFP

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