Government will be able to 'keep the lights on' - Ed Davey

  • 30 March 2014
  • From the section Business
Media captionEnergy Minister Ed Davey says fears of a blackout are unfounded

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey says the government has a strategy that will "keep the lights on" despite concern over a diminishing buffer of electricity capacity.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Davey said the country had the "healthiest pipeline of investment in our history".

Last year regulator Ofgem warned that spare electricity production capacity could fall to 2% by 2015.

There is also concern a competition probe could deter energy investments.

The "big six" energy firms are facing an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which could take 18 months.

The probe, which was confirmed last week, will look at whether energy suppliers prevent effective competition in the UK energy market.

Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw said it would cause delays to investment and "an increasing risk" of blackouts.

Image caption Labour says the energy market is "broken"

Speaking on Sunday Politics, Mr Davey blamed the previous government for failing to deal with Britain's energy deficit and said his government was "doing a huge amount".

He said Ofgem's figures did not reflect the work being done and planned investments.

"We're going to keep the lights on, that's for clear. From day one we've been pushing investment up massively," he said.

Last year there was a record £8bn invested in energy production capacity, according to Mr Davey, up from £5bn a year between 2005 and 2007.

He also said that more firms would be encouraged to sign up for special contracts that would cut their power supply at times of peak demand.

"There are already around 200 of these contracts out there - what we want to do is to see if we can expand that," Mr Davey said.

However, Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint said that "this market is broken".

If elected, Labour has promised a freeze on energy prices for 20 months, during which time a Labour government would reform the market.

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