The UK’s reliance on importing French power to keep the lights on has increased by almost a quarter this year in further evidence of Britain’s energy cost crunch. Energy prices in Britain are now around a fifth higher than they were this time last year on the wholesale market. Meanwhile, across the Channel, nuclear power plants have flooded France with cheap electricity which is being sold at a tidy profit to struggling British suppliers. “French nuclear plants have been far more reliable this year to date than last year,” said Jamie Stewart, the ICIS Energy analyst, “which has kept a firm lid on French power prices.” The stark fundamental differences between the UK and its biggest electricity trade partner have nudged British imports, via twin high-voltage sub-sea cables, to a total of 6.4 terawatt ho urs so far this year. Last year Britain imported less than 5TWh over the same period. Energy brokers at Marex Spectron told The Sunday Telegraph that the “anomalously strong” imports from France are closer in line with Britain’s winter appetite for foreign energy than typical summer trends. The trend has also re-energised industry debate over Britain’s energy trading future once it leaves the EU next year. Even with the bumper imports of cheap French nuclear power, Britain’s energy prices remain around 20pc higher than last year in a major threat to energy companies braced for the Government’s price cap to descend on the market at the end of the year. In response, suppliers have drawn the ire of ministers by raising the price of energy tariffs to survive the cost crunch. Many of the cheapest suppliers have shown signs of existential strain.
Telegraph 16th June 2018 read more »