As many as six million British households could face blackouts this winter in case of a gas shortage, per a Sky News report citing government modeling of energy fundamentals next heating season.
The blackouts fall under a worst-case scenario with gas supply shortages, which would also involve limits being placed on industrial gas consumption, the report noted. The blackouts would be the result of gas supply rationing to gas-fired power plants.
The energy crunch that began last September has led to a major cost-of-living crisis in the UK, leaving the government scrambling to find a solution while electricity bills soar and are about to soar even more this October.
To protect consumers from excessively high prices, the UK authorities have installed an energy price cap. However, this price cap was raised substantially this spring to reflect the price context of the energy market. This automatically pushed higher the bills for several million households by 54 percent.
Now, bills are about to rise by another 42 percent when, rather than if, the energy market regulator raises the energy price cap in October. The cap is now at $2,461 (1,971 British pounds) a year, but is likely to rise in October to $3,496 (2,800 British pounds) a year, Ofgem's chief executive officer Jonathan Brearley said earlier this month.
The cost of living crisis "is going to get truly horrific" in October, when the twice-yearly-adjusted price cap is set to spike again, Keith Anderson, chief executive at one of the largest providers, ScottishPower, told a Parliament committee last month.
"We are seeing an uptick now, but it will get worse—a lot worse—without any further intervention, come October," Chris O'Shea, CEO at British Gas owner Centrica, told the same committee.
A spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy said, as quoted by Sky News, that the UK "has no issues with either gas or electricity supply, and the government is fully prepared for any scenario, even those that are extreme and very unlikely to pass."
"Thanks to a massive £90bn investment in renewable energy in the last decade, we have one of the most reliable and diverse energy systems in the world, and unlike Europe, we are not dependent on Russian energy imports," the spokesperson also said.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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