Government poised to step in to tackle gas price crisis – Kwarteng
Business Sectrary Kwasi Kwarteng has told the BBC that the government is poised to step in to tackle the gas price crisis and carbon dioxide shortage.
It comes as businesses start collapsing as wholesale gas costs rising to record levels.
Lending money to bigger firms to help them take on stranded customers was an option said Kwarteng. The government could subsidise the country’s biggest carbon dioxide producer to bolster supplies.
Production has been halted at two UK CF Industries plants because rising gas costs, caused by higher demand due to cold weather in Europe and Asia, have made them unviable.
Shortages of carbon dioxide have raised fears of empty shelves, as carbon dioxide is essential to the frozen food industry.
Kwarteng said he had spoken to CF Industries’ chief executive and was looking for ways to ensure production would resume “as quickly as possible”, including subsidies.
He has ruled out nationalising the company, saying he was “averse” to the idea.
Mr Kwarteng denied that failed energy companies would get government bailouts, saying: “I do not think it’s the right thing for taxpayers’ money to be injected into companies that have been badly run.” But said the government was exploring the possibility of lending money to the bigger firms to help them absorb the cost of taking on new customers from the companies that collapse.
“If we do have this policy, they will be expected to pay back the loans,” he added.
What happens if your energy supplier goes bust?
- Customers will still continue to receive gas or electricity even if the energy supplier goes bust. Ofgem will move your account to a new supplier, but it may take a few weeks. Your new supplier should then contact you to explain what is happening with your account
- While you wait to hear from your new supplier: check your current balance and – if possible – download any bills; take a photo of your meter reading
- If you pay by direct debit, there is no need to cancel it straight away, Citizens Advice says. Wait until your new account is set up before you cancel it
- If you are in credit, your money is protected and you’ll be paid back. If you were in debt to the old supplier, you’ll still have to pay the money back to your new supplier instead
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