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

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    07:51: PEARSON EARNINGS

    Pearson has reported flat underlying revenue for nine months to the end of September and a 1% fall in in what it calls headline growth for the period. It blames the strength of sterling against key emerging market currencies for the fall. Penguin Random House has performed well in the third quarter, it adds without giving detail. It says the integration of its businesses is "progressing well and is on track to deliver benefits in 2015 and beyond".

     
  2.  
    07:38: HIKMA WARNING

    Hikma Pharmaceuticals says it has received a warning letter US Food and Drug Administration after an inspection at its manufacturing plant in Portugal. "In the letter, the agency raised issues related to investigations and environmental monitoring at the facility," said the firm, which is taking the letter "very seriously."

     
  3.  
    07:26: TSB EARNINGS
    The TSB logo

    Impairments - that is, bad loans - fell to £23m from £32.2m, said TSB. Loans rose 7.7% to £22bn compared to a year ago, but fell from a peak of £23bn six months ago. TSB won 9.7% of all new or switched bank accounts, it said, adding £500m of deposits.

     
  4.  
    07:18: PEARSON FINANCE CHIEF STEPS DOWN

    Robin Freestone, chief financial officer of Financial Times and Penguin Random House owner Pearson has announced he is standing down after 10 years with the firm, including eight in his current role. He will probably leave the firm in 2015 after a successor has been found, said the firm.

     
  5.  
    07:08: TSB EARNINGS

    TSB third-quarter profit before tax fell 14% to £33.1m compared with the same time a year ago, after operating expenses rose. But revenue swelled 18% to £199m

     
  6.  
    06:54: EU PAYMENT Radio 5 live

    Sarah Hewin of Standard Chartered on 5 live says the payment has to be made in the next few months. That could mean more borrowing, she says.

     
  7.  
    06:41: EU PAYMENT Radio 5 live
    British Prime Minister David Cameron

    Sarah Hewin of Standard Chartered is explaining why the UK has to pay an extra £1.7bn to the EU on 5 live. "The UK has been doing better since 1997 than we thought and that's resulted in this extra payment. The Netherlands will pay more, while France and Germany get a rebate."

     
  8.  
    06:29: AMAZON RESULTS Radio 5 live

    Paul Kavanagh of wealth manager Killik is talking about Amazon's loss-making results last night. "It begs the question about what is happening here with this strategy. The shares fell 11% in after hours [in the US]." Investors may be growing tired of ever-more sales expansion with little profit to show for it, he tells 5 live.

     
  9.  
    06:20: CHALLENGER BANKS Radio 5 live

    Paul Kavanagh of wealth manager Killik says it's difficult for banks to persuade customers they offer something new. When a challenger bank succeeds, the larger banks often take the best ideas, he says on 5 live.

     
  10.  
    06:12: CHALLENGER BANKS Radio 5 live

    Steve Davies is still on 5 live. He says challenger banks are forcing their larger competitors to think more about the customer and service - think Metro bank opening on Sundays. Competing on rates is more difficult, he says. TSB results coming up later.

     
  11.  
    06:03: CHALLENGER BANKS Radio 5 live

    Steve Davies of accountants PwC is on 5 live talking about so-called challenger banks. Can they challenge the largest high street banks? "They have to be able to offer something a little bit different," he says. "The challenge is around innovation," he says. Customer is key, he adds.

     
  12.  
    06:00: Howard Mustoe Business reporter

    Good morning. Get in touch via email blizlivepage@bbc.co.uk and twitter @BBCBusiness.

     
  13.  
    06:00: Matthew West Business reporter

    Morning folks. It's Friday, we're nearly at the weekend. But before that, TSB kicks off bank earnings season and Shire has financials out as well. There's also some service sector data but the big bit of data is the first estimate of third quarter GDP. We'll bring you it all as it happens as always.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 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.