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Kwasi Kwarteng cannot guarantee any gas failures this winter

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Kwasi Kwarteng could not guarantee today that there will be no gas outages in the UK this winter as rising energy costs wreak havoc.

The business secretary said he is “confident” the nation will have “full energy supplies” in the colder months, but he could not provide a cast iron guarantee.

He said he was “as sure as I could be” that energy supplies will remain resilient, but warned that pressure on gas is “global”.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kwarteng said the consumer price cap on energy bills “will not be moved” before April.

The minister said the cap is the “largest shield” protecting consumers from price increases.

Experts have warned consumers to brace themselves for the next limit revision in April, fearing rising wholesale energy prices could push average annual bills through the £2,000 barrier for the first time.

Mr Kwarteng is under pressure to increase support for energy-rich industries as bosses warn that some companies could be forced to close within days because they can no longer afford to pay their bills.

The company secretary did not rule out the introduction of a price cap for the industry, saying ‘we want to come up with solutions’.

Kwasi Kwarteng could not guarantee today that there will be no gas outages in the UK this winter as rising energy costs wreak havoc.

The business secretary said he is

The business secretary said he is “confident” the nation will have “full energy supplies” in the colder months, but he could not provide a cast iron guarantee. Wholesale gas prices have risen sharply in recent months

There are fears that an energy price cap hike in April could push average bills above £2,000 a year

There are fears that an energy price cap hike in April could push average bills above £2,000 a year

During an interview on Sky News this morning, Mr Kwarteng was asked to guarantee that domestic gas supplies will not be interrupted this winter.

He replied: ‘I think delivery is critical and I’ve always said we’ve never had a problem, especially in recent years with security of supply.

‘For the viewers it is important that we look at the elements of the offer.

“If you look at where our gas comes from, where it came from last year in 2020, 50 percent of that gas was British Continental Shelf, it came from the UK, 30 percent came from Norway and I spoke to the Norwegian energy minister. just a few weeks ago and they’re ramping up their production, and 20 percent comes from energy that goes around the world through freight.

‘I am very committed and convinced that we will have a full energy supply.’

When told that his comments were not a guarantee, Mr. Kwarteng said: “I’m as sure as I can be because of course, you know, this is a global problem, so we have real pressure all over the world in the supply chain.

“You’ve seen the Chinese have power outages, they’re rationing the supply.

“Here in the UK it is our job to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible and I am very confident…”

Mr. Kwarteng said that the consumer price cap will not be changed before the next review point.

He said, “I’ve been very clear about this. The price cap is the biggest shield in terms of consumer prices and I have said repeatedly that it will not be moved.

“It’s set in August for the six-month period between October 1 and April 1, and it’s not moving.”

When asked whether people should consider wearing more layers to keep heating costs down and reduce demand, the minister said: ‘It’s up to people. It’s amazing how people’s cold threshold can be very different.

‘Some people feel comfortable in a lot of different clothes, others wear relatively little.

‘I think people should be sensible. I think people should do what they feel comfortable with.’

He added: ‘My job as Energy Secretary is not to tell people how many layers of clothing to wear. That’s not really my job.’

Mr. Kwarteng hinted that more aid will become available to energy-rich industries as they are hammered by rising costs.

When asked why the government hasn’t introduced an energy price cap for businesses, he said: “We talk to the industry all the time about the best way forward.

The surge in wholesale gas prices has already caused many small suppliers in the UK to go bankrupt

The surge in wholesale gas prices has already caused many small suppliers in the UK to go bankrupt

“We clearly recognize that this is a global problem, we have very, very high gas prices, very high electricity prices.

“We already have support for industries and we’re looking for ways we can help the industry.”

Mr Kwarteng said the ministers “fully understand the pressure they are under and that we want to come up with solutions”.

Ofgem warned last week that next year there will be a “significant increase” in the cap on energy bills, affecting millions of Britain’s poorest people.

As the gas crisis escalated, industry analysts suggested the current energy cap of £1,277 would rise by as much as £800.

Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley did not put a figure on it, but said there will be a ‘significant rise’ in the price cap set by the sector regulator, which is helping to control the cost of gas and electricity in the UK.

He has not refuted claims that fixed and other deals could reach £2,000 by 2022.

Mr. Kwarteng said it is not his job to advise people whether to turn down their heating

Mr. Kwarteng said it is not his job to advise people whether to turn down their heating

“We can’t predict everything and the wholesale market, as we’ve seen, has been going up and down extremely quickly so we can’t fully predict what that will be,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. ‘But if we look at the costs that are in the system, we expect a sharp increase in April.’

While ministers were under pressure to do more to solve the energy crisis, Boris Johnson is said to have flown to Marbella for a holiday in a private villa on the Costa del Sol.

Downing Street did not deny that he had traveled to Spain and declined to say whether the prime minister worked at number 10 or in Checkers, as is customary.

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