Electricity bills are set to rise, after National Grid was forced to fork out £36m to guard against possible power outages across the UK this winter.
The company, which manages the UK’s power transmission network, has bought 2.56 gigawatts of extra power, after power station closures left the country at risk of blackouts. Before the deal was made, the spare capacity in place stood at just 1.2 per cent.
As a result of the purchase, there is now a 5.1 per cent margin of extra capacity, and National Grid said it is “expecting the upcoming winter to be manageable”.
However, the move adds around only 50p to the electricity bill of the average consumer.
Cordi O’Hara, National Grid’s director of market operation, said: “As system operator, we feel we’ve taken a sensible precaution again this winter to buy some extra services. Together with the tools we already use to balance the network these additional services will significantly increase the energy reserve available this winter.”
National Grid said it currently expects gas supplies this winter to be sufficient to meet demand.
Yesterday, think tank Policy Exchange urged the government to prioritise affordability and increase consumer oversight of energy policy decisions.
The group said the average household energy bill has risen by £120 over the past five years “purely due to ill thought through energy and climate policies”. Policy Exchange also warned electricity prices could increase by a further 18 per cent between now and 2020.