Government vows to work with industry to tackle soaring energy costs

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The UK government has promised to work with the heaviest industrial energy users to help deal with rising costs during the winter, but cannot provide immediate action at Friday’s crisis meeting. was.

Representatives of the country’s most electricity-consuming sectors, such as steel, chemicals and glass, will be represented by Secretary-General Kwasi Kwaten with a “practical solution” to protect them from further shocks in the coming months. He said he would ask the authorities to find it.

The meeting will take place at the end of the week, with wholesale gas and electricity prices in the UK and Europe lower than normal this summer, supply from Russia declining and temperatures likely to drop. , Recorded a record high.

Prices have fallen after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was ready to stabilize supply, but British heavy industry users continue to be concerned about the impact on their business. Many have warned about rising commodity prices and the prospect of factory closures.

Richard Leese, chairman of the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG), which represents the industry sector with the highest energy consumption, said in a message delivered to Kwarteng, “Rapid and preventive measures to avoid recent production cuts in the fertilizer and steel sector. Measures This winter, it was duplicated elsewhere. ”

Reese said the group welcomed the “positive first step” from Quarten to “develop practical solutions and work with Treasury colleagues.”

Earlier this week, the group called on the government to introduce so-called “winter cost controls” on gas, electricity and carbon prices so that factories could continue to operate during the coldest months. Some industrial users want to set price caps similar to those already set for households by the minister to mitigate the effects of recent price hikes.

EIUG also wants energy regulator Ofgem to reduce network costs for industrial users, as well as network tariff discounts offered to competitors in some European countries.

The National Grid warned this week that Britain is facing tight electricity supplies this winter due to rising demand and capacity constraints. Many fertilizer companies and steel producers have cut production in recent weeks.

Steve Elliott, CEO of the Chemical Industry Association, who also attended the meeting, said Quarten was “sympathetic” to their concerns and “fully understood the concerns and potential disruptions in the major supply chains. I have. ”

“If we have bandages and caps for industrial consumers as a short-term measure, we’ll be sure we can do everything we can to ensure gas flow to the UK this winter,” Elliott said. He said. FT.

Gareth Stace, director general of UK Steel, said producers are now “energy prices five times higher than last year’s average and price volatility is significant,” warning that the situation is “simply unsustainable for the sector.” bottom.

A survey of its members by UK Steel found that all large producers in the country would be forced to impose additional electricity and carbon charges on their products starting next month.

The government added to Mr Stace: “You can reduce government-applied carbon, renewable and network charges and reduce costs all at once. You have to choose if you need it or not.”

The business unit said Mr. Quarten emphasized that the government was “confident in the safety of the gas supply this winter.” Still, he promised, “For the next few days, we will work closely with businesses to help them better understand and mitigate the impact of increased costs facing them.”

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