A private Met Office briefing was reportedly shared by Kwasi Kwarteng with energy companies, saying Britain could face a mild winter, which may help ease pressure on supplies in the coming months.
Rocketing global wholesale energy prices have seen 12 small energy suppliers collapse in the UK since September, with experts warning the increase in the price cap for consumers announced at the beginning of this month could be followed by a further rise in April.
According to a report in the Financial Times, the Business Secretary has shared a Met Office briefing with energy suppliers which said the “most likely scenario” is that this winter will be wet and mild.
“For the late winter period from January to February 2022, the most likely scenario is for an unsettled period of wet, windy and mild spells,” the private Met Office briefing said, according to the Financial Times.
The briefing would go further than the Met Office’s most recently published three month “outlook”, issued three weeks ago, which says that period up to December is “significantly more likely than normal to be mild”, but adds “cold spells are still possible”.
This report is produced for contingency planning and “for planners in government and business who make risk-based decisions”.
The Financial Times reported that the Met Office said it prepares long-term outlooks which consider the percentage chances for temperatures and these are of use for contingency planning.
These are not forecasts but used by people who understand risk, the Met said, adding: “The whole area of long-range forecasting is pretty experimental as far as any meteorological organisation is concerned.”
Labour’s shadow business secretary, Ed Miliband, told the paper: “This is a new low for government energy policy. Reduced to crossing his fingers for a mild winter, Kwasi Kwarteng is showing just how much a decade of inaction from Government has left us vulnerable.”