The security of energy supply is “not a problem”, insists the minister

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Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng insisted that “the security” of the UK’s energy supply “is not a problem” – and warned that not all energy companies can expect to a government bailout.

The minister also said he hoped to have a “very clear plan” to jump-start CO2 production this week, as shortages could lead to food supply problems.

Mr Kwarteng told Sky News he accepts that some people may already have difficulty heating their homes due to the cost, but that it would not be due to a gas shortage.

He said it was a “myth” that the supply might run out and added: “What I said yesterday is that security of supply is not an issue. We have lots of various sources of gas.

The minister also said he did not want to spend taxpayer money on failed energy companies.

He told Sky News: “First, we need to look after the customers, we need to make sure there is continuity of supply, and we need to look after the most vulnerable customers – and especially the older ones, this is my first priority.

“The second thing I said was that I don’t think we should be throwing taxpayer dollars into businesses that have been, let’s face it, mismanaged.”

However, the former chairman of the UK Energy Security Group has warned that energy companies will go bankrupt with the current retail energy price cap in place as wholesale gas prices soar.

Clive Moffatt told LBC: “It makes no sense to cap standard rates at the retail level.

“If you don’t control the wholesale price, all that’s going to do is make more businesses go bankrupt.

“So the best thing to do is not have a cap and let retail prices reflect what’s going on in the market. “

Emma Pinchbeck, managing director of the Energy UK trade association, said the immediate concern was to help energy companies get through “a truly unprecedented time”.

She told Good Morning Britain: “I think the message for everyone right now is that we are asking for a little calm.

“The industry is planning ahead, so we have seen these prices come in throughout the summer and we have decided to put in additional support, especially for vulnerable customers and other customers during the winter period. .

“And, as the Secretary of State said, the other big thing we always worry about is keeping the lights on, and we’re sure we have enough supply to get through the winter.”

“National Grid has said so, so the immediate concern is to manage the vulnerability of our retail industry and ensure that customers are taken care of for any unintended consequences of what is a truly free time. previous.”

Ms Pinchbeck added: ‘We have been saying in government for a long time, certainly since I took this job and long before that, that the UK retail market is fragile and that a lot has to do with the political choices being made. by the government.

“And so, on the other side of this immediate crisis, we need to come together as an industry, and in particular the government needs to come together and look at retail policy… so that we don’t have any more. events like this. “

However, the business secretary said that not all energy companies can expect a government bailout.

Speaking on Times Radio, Kwasi Kwarteng said, “I think one of the things that I’ve established as a principle is that I don’t think taxpayer money should be funneled into businesses that have been wrong. managed.

“So… not all companies in the industry can expect government bailouts. I have been very clear about this.

He added: “The way markets work is that poorly managed companies often go bankrupt, it’s a natural process.”

On CO2 shortages – which could impact food supplies – the business secretary said he hoped to have a “very clear plan” to jump-start CO2 production this week.

Kwasi Kwarteng told Sky News he was “confident” in a resolution and “it is quite imminent”, adding that the CO2 situation was “critical”.

He said: “I am very confident and hope we can fix the problem by the end of the week.”

Mr. Kwarteng said, “I think we have to have a variety of carbon dioxide sources out there. CF is not the only company that manufactures carbon dioxide.

“They have a big market share, I said they weren’t the only ones. But they are… a big part of the carbon dioxide market. “

Kwasi Kwarteng also said green taxes had been a “British success story” amid pressure to remove them.

Some energy companies have called for the taxes – which fund renewable energy subsidy programs – to be removed to ease pressure on the industry.

When asked on Sky News if he had considered removing the scheme, the business secretary said: “No, I didn’t. You will understand that this is a problem for the Chancellor, because it is a tax tax.

“But I think green taxes are in their infancy and, in fact, we’ve been very successful in moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, and that’s a British achievement.”

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