Centrica boss on the energy crisis: High gas bills are here to stay
Brits have been told the energy crisis may last for two years, according to Centrica’s chief executive Chris O’Shea.
O’Shea said “the market suggests” high gas prices will continue “for the next 18 months to two years”.
He said the high demand for gas was partly being driven by a move away from coal and oil.
“As we move towards net zero, gas is a big transition fuel,” Mr O’Shea said.
“And so as you turn off coal-fired power stations in other countries, there isn’t an abundance of gas that you can just turn on quickly,” he told the BBC.
But Mr O’Shea also threw cold water on the idea of boosting supply from the North Sea as a domestic solution to the crisis.
“I’m not sure an increase in UK supply would have brought the price down from £3 a therm, as it was in December, from 50p as it was a year ago.”Chris O’Shea
“We bring gas in from the United States, from Norway, from Europe, from Qatar, from other places. So we’re not in a position to simply have the UK as an isolated energy market. We are part of a global market.”
“At a time when temperatures are dropping, the price of gas is only increasing.”
Saxo Markets has also warned that high gas prices could be normalised following the crisis.
Mike Owens, a sales trader on the investment and commodity trading platform said: “Wholesale gas prices have soared to more than double this winter and there are no signs to suggest they’ll get anywhere close to their historic average of more than four times lower than the current price soon, meaning without significant government intervention, average energy bills for households of £2,000 or higher could become the new normal for many years. “
It also follows warnings from industry leaders that a taxpayer-backed support package for energy-intensive businesses hit by the surge in gas prices may be no more than a “flimsy sticking plaster”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly backing a plan being developed by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng for state loans to firms threatened with closure over the winter.
The move follows an extraordinary Whitehall turf war between Mr Kwarteng and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, which broke out over the weekend, with the Treasury denying there any plans for the Government to act.