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Blackouts forecast for UK due to tightened electricity supplies

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Ofgem, the UK regulator has warned that the UK could be in line for blackouts due to tightened electricity supplies over the next few years.

The regulator’s forecast of electricity generation margins over the next four years show a fall from a 14% margin in 2012/13 to just 4% in 2015/16.

Legislation from the EU is forcing the closure of highly polluting coal-fired power stations earlier than expected, meaning a shortfall in supply from 2015/16.

“The unprecedented challenges facing Britain’s energy industry, identified in Ofgem’s Project Discovery, to attract the investment to deliver secure, sustainable and affordable energy supplies for consumers, still remain,” warns chief executive of Ofgem,  Alistair Buchanan.

The regulator warns that Britain will face fluctuating gas prices and supply, as well as rising bills due to higher imports. The government’s Energy Bill will reform the market and tackle the issues head on.

“Ofgem is also seeking sweeping reforms to the retail market to ensure a simpler, clearer and fairer energy market for consumers. This is vital as if consumers are going to be expected to pay for this investment, it is only right that they see a complete change in the way suppliers treat them,” adds Buchanan.

 A spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change has said that the lower capacity margins predicted for 2015/16, do not create a significant risk.
“We’re never complacent about energy security but believe this is adequate,” said a statement. “But we would like to see slightly larger margins and this is why we’re acting to bring more investment forward.”
The DECC advises that there are 15 GW of consented gas plants for England and Wales like the 880 MW gas-fired power plant in Manchester announced last week.

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