Britain is at risk of power cuts next winter unless major investment takes place in Britain’s energy infrastructure, according to industry figures.
Amid ongoing criticism of power companies’ profits and prices, npower’s chief executive Paul Massara said that the margins between demand and supply were narrowing and he did not know if the lights would remain on over next winter.
His criticism came as a senior world economist warned that Labour’s policy of freezing energy prices could deter investment and potentially bankrupt some companies.
Mr Massara, whose firm is a member of the Big Six firms criticised for hefty increases in bills recently, said: “Will we get through this winter? Yes. Will we get through next winter? I don’t know.”
Speaking to the BBC for a Panorama programme to be screened tonight, he said: “The amount of spare generation that is around at the peak day has gone down from about 15 per cent to this winter [when] we’ll be at about 5 per cent and I think next winter will be even smaller,”
Mr Massara also warned that investors were worried about the industry’s future. “Every time we sign a windfarm deal or nuclear deal with long-term contracts, those are expensive contracts relative to where we are today,” he said. “Now they may actually be very, very good deals for us if gas prices dramatically increase, but if gas prices stay where they are or fall these will be very expensive bets.”