UK business leaders said the energy crunch meant spot prices for electricity were likely to go even higher. The British Chambers of Commerce said that unless ministers took some “long term” decisions British manufacturers might be forced to relocate overseas.
Business groups have attacked the Government’s energy strategy after National Grid revealed that the risk of winter blackouts was the highest for more than five years.
The Grid said the demand for electricity could reach 95pc of available supply if the country was hit by a cold snap. The safety cushion or “margin” of just 5pc is the lowest predicted by the Grid since 2007.
They may be forced to issue demands – or NISMs – for emergency power to come on stream on certain days over the winter to cope. Experts blamed the wafer-thin margin on a near-20pc fall in coal-fired generating capacity over the past year.
Business leaders said the energy crunch meant spot prices for electricity were likely to go even higher, placing severe pressure on “intensive” users, such as steel producers and paper manufacturers.
John Longworth, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said that unless ministers took some “long term” decisions British manufacturers might be forced to relocate overseas.
He told The Daily Telegraph: “We have short-term planning at a micro level coming out of our ears. We have an absence of long-term planning on infrastructure and that includes energy. There is a real risk this could start hitting the economy and growth over the next 10 years.”
Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, said British companies were already at risk of losing business on the international stage because of spiralling energy costs. He said: “The problems are only going to get worse over the next two years.