Talks to continue as Kwasi Kwarteng warned of 'enormous crisis' over gas prices

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has been meeting with energy suppliers.Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has been meeting with energy suppliers.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has been meeting with energy suppliers.

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Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will continue meetings with energy industry bosses “over the coming days and weeks” amid warnings the nation is heading for an “enormous crisis” which may see households bills almost double from April.

Mr Kwarteng held an initial meeting with representatives from energy suppliers and Ofgem yesterday to discuss potential ways to mitigate the impact of soaring wholesale gas prices.

A Government spokesperson said: “A meeting was held between the Business and Energy Secretary, representatives from large energy suppliers and Ofgem to discuss the ongoing effects of record high global gas prices on the sector.

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“Throughout the meeting there was discussion of the issues facing the sector and an agreement for meetings to continue over the coming days and weeks to ensure UK consumers are protected.”

Fears of runaway household bills in the new year have been mounting since rising gas prices began bankrupting suppliers in September. Since then, prices have risen from 54p per therm of gas to £4.50.

Prior to the meeting, Ovo chief executive Stephen Fitzpatrick told the BBC the impact of soaring wholesale gas prices will be “an enormous crisis for 2022”.

“We haven’t seen any action from the Government or from the regulator,” he said. “There’s an acceptance that there’s a problem, but nowhere near enough urgency to find a solution.”

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The energy price cap is due to change in April and there are projections that it might be hiked from its current level of £1,277 – already a record – to £1,995.

In an opinion piece for The Times, Mr Fitzpatrick said the Government "urgently needs to support those families who need help the most" as price rises hit, as well as "smoothing out" price shocks for the wider consumer market. He added that the energy sector requires "urgent and meaningful reform if more failures are to be avoided" following 30 companies going out of business in 12 months.

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