Kwasi Kwarteng set to hold 'emergency’ meetings with energy leaders amid rising gas prices
The government is set to hold “emergency” meetings with energy industry bosses to address rapidly rising wholesale gas prices, according to reports.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will meet with chief executives of major suppliers on Monday, with bosses poised to ask for tax cuts and the relaxation of green levies, The Times reports.
ITV News Understands that Mr Kwarteng, who is also the energy secretary, will meet with the energy sector to discuss how to build a more resilient retail energy market.
It comes after more than 26 energy suppliers have gone bust while wholesale prices continue to climb steeply.
How to best protect customers is likely to be a focus of discussion at the meetings as fears of runaway household bills in the new year have been mounting since rising gas prices began bankrupting suppliers in September.
Since then, prices have risen from 54p per therm of gas to £4.50.
Since 2019, energy suppliers in the UK have been subject to a price cap put in place by the energy regulator Ofgem, limiting the amount they can charge customers.
With the rising prices, many say they were paying more for gas than they could charge.
The cap is moved twice a year based on the price of energy and is due to next be changed in April.
The regulator is already consulting on a series of proposals which would mean the biggest overhaul of the price cap since it was launched if implemented next year.
The suggestions could include forcing customers to stick with their energy supplier for six months if they are on a price-cap tariff.
This could add extra burdens to households, who might already be looking at a more than 50% increase in their bills from April.
Investment bank Investec believes that the price cap might be hiked from its current level of £1,277 – already a record – to £1,995.
It could be what is needed to keep the UK’s remaining energy suppliers in business.
A government spokesperson said: "We regularly engage with the energy industry and will continue to ensure that consumers are protected through the energy price cap, which is insulating millions from record global gas prices. “We also continue to support those most in need through our £500m Household Support Fund, the Warm Home Discount and Winter Fuel Payments.”