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

Energy Minister Ed Davey says fears of a blackout are unfounded

Related Stories

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.

Pylons 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.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Business stories

RSS

Business Live

  1.  
    06:31: GDP growth Radio 5 live

    Anne Richards, chief investment officer of Aberdeen Asset Management is the markets guest on Wake Up to Money. "You have to be a wee bit careful with quarterly numbers as they are subject to a lot of revision," she says. "The overall picture for the year was reasonably positive." Low construction growth was "a bit worrying." Strong sterling is a drag on GDP growth. Reliance on services rather than making things is also a challenge, she says. More engineers are needed.

     
  2.  
    06:20: Apple profit Radio 5 live
    The Apple logo

    The biggest quarterly profit ever for a company: $18bn, has been posted by phone pedlars Apple. Daniel Eran Dilger who writes for AppleInsider tells Wake Up to Money. Apple makes a load of margin from its high-end phones. They also make a lot when you break your power cable and have to splurge £65 on a new one, as presenter Adam Parsons learned earlier this week.

     
  3.  
    06:12: Services growth Radio 5 live

    More from Greg Madigan, the boss Subway UK and Ireland on Wake Up to Money. Hospitals, service stations and forecourts, or "non-traditional locations" are a big area of growth for the firm, he says. He used to be an air traffic controller, he adds.

     
  4.  
    06:01: Services growth Radio 5 live

    Services is what's propping up GDP growth, we learned yesterday. Greg Madigan, the boss Subway UK and Ireland is on Wake Up to Money. "The price of oil has come down putting more money in peoples pocket... one of the things that benefit from more discretionary spending is food retail," he says. They have 2,000 stores in the UK and Ireland now.

     
  5.  
    06:00: Howard Mustoe Business reporter

    Good morning. Keep your thoughts on today's news rolling in via email bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk and on twitter @BBCBusiness

     
  6.  
    06:00: Matthew West Business Reporter

    Morning everyone. In case you missed it EDF became the last of the "Big Six" energy suppliers to cut its gas prices last night. And US tech giant Apple reported the largest quarterly profit in corporate history. Today sees trading updates come from Brewin Dolphin, Johnson Matthey, Sage and Anglo American. We'll bring you those numbers and more as we get them.

     

Features

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.