Power summit

Energy talks end with no new funding on offer

Householders are switching off to save money

A meeting involving the Prime Minister, two senior ministers and energy company leaders has ended with no new offer of funding for those struggling to pay bills.

Boris Johnson was joined by Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng in the meeting with representatives from 15 firms who were urged to “continue working on ways we can ease the cost of living pressures and to invest further and faster in British energy security.”

It was noted that the market “is not always functioning for consumers, and extraordinarily high bills will ultimately damage energy companies”.

But no further funding was forthcoming on top of the payouts already being distributed which many campaigners say falls well short of what is required to stop households and firms falling into serious debt.

Government support worth £37 billion is being provided this year, which will provide £1,200 for the most vulnerable households over the course of the year and £400 discounted off everyone’s energy bills from October.

Mr Johnson said “it will be for the next Prime Minister to make significant fiscal decisions”.

In an article for The Times, Tory leadership contender Rishi Sunak has proposed plans to cut energy bills for up to 16 million vulnerable people, as he challenged his rival Liz Truss to follow suit.

The talks in Downing Street focused on how Government and industry can drive forward reforms to ensure the market delivers lower prices.

Ministers emphasised the importance of the energy companies investing in North Sea oil and gas, renewables, biomass and nuclear to strengthen Britain’s domestic energy security.

The Chancellor added that the Government continues to evaluate the extraordinary profits seen in certain parts of the electricity generation sector and the appropriate and proportionate steps to take.

He added: “Countries around the world are feeling the impact of Putin’s damaging war in Ukraine. We know that this will be a difficult winter for people across the UK, which is why we are doing everything we can to support them and must continue to do so.

“Following our meeting today, we will keep urging the electricity sector to continue working on ways we can ease the cost of living pressures and to invest further and faster in British energy security.

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“We are continuing to roll out government support over the coming months, including the second £324 instalment of the cost of living payment for vulnerable households, extra help for pensioners and those with disabilities, and the £400 energy bills discount for all households.”

Mr Zahawi, said: “This morning I hosted industry leaders from the electricity sector to discuss what more they can do to work with Government and act in the interest of the country in the face of rising prices caused by Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

“We have already acted to protect households with £400 off energy bills and direct payments of £1,200 for 8 million of the most vulnerable British families. In the spirit of national unity, they agreed to work with us to do more to help the people who most need it.”

Consumers are taking matters into their own hands. About 100,000 have added their names to a pledge to cancel their direct debits for gas and electricity on 1 October if the government fails to adequately address the crisis.

The live tally of number of pledges can be viewed at dontpay.uk. In addition, more than 31,000 people have signed up as activists in their local communities, and 3,000 have joined 150 Don’t Pay groups across the country.

The meeting in Downing Street was attended by representatives from:

  • EDF
  • RWE
  • E.ON
  • Drax
  • Orsted
  • Uniper
  • National Grid
  • SSE
  • ScottishPower
  • Centrica
  • Octopus Energy
  • Vitol
  • Intergen
  • Greencoat Capital
  • Energy UK

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