Crisis talks set to 'knock heads together' as bills soar while energy firms announce bumper profits

10 August 2022, 18:29 | Updated: 10 August 2022, 18:43

Energy bosses are meeting with the government.
Energy bosses are meeting with the government. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Crisis talks are set to take place between energy bosses and the government to "knock some heads together" over spiralling costs.

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Chiefs from gas and electricity companies will meet with Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng on Thursday, with them expected to submit a breakdown of predicted profits and payouts as well as investment plans for the next three years.

It comes after experts at Cornwall Insight forecast that bills are now likely to rise to £4,200 from January as wholesale prices surge again.

Ofgem is set to put the price cap at £4,266 for the average household in the three months from the beginning of January.

The energy consultancy said that this was around £650 more than its previous forecast.

Meanwhile, energy companies have seen huge profits in recent months, triggering fury among Brits.

Shell, BP and British Gas owner Centrica all announced bumper figures in recent quarters as the cost of living crisis continues to hit struggling families.

Education Secretary James Cleverly confirmed Thursday's meeting in a bid to downplay concerns over energy blackouts this winter.

He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Business Secretary are actually calling in the leaders of those big energy companies to knock some heads together and basically hold them to account about what they're going to do with those profits."

Low temperatures and gas shortages could lead to a four-day blackout for big industries and potentially homes in January, Bloomberg reported.

The government plans are for a 'reasonable worst-case scenario' but emergency measures may need to be triggered in order to conserve gas.

Read more: Energy bills set to rise to staggering £4,200 this winter as Brits grapple with cost of living crisis

Read more: 'Unbearable burden of unpayable bills': Gordon Brown's stark warning as he calls for emergency budget

Minister quizzed over energy bill prices

There has been calls for Tory leadership rivals Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to come together with Boris Johnson to find a solution to the cost of living crisis before a new Prime Minister is chosen.

However, Ms Truss shut down the idea during Tuesday's hustings in Darlington, saying it was "bizarre".

She said the Prime Minister and Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi are "capable people, capable of making these decisions", adding "this kangaroo committee you're proposing sounds bizarre".

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak said he would welcome a meeting to agree emergency support ahead of the winter.

Energy boss warns against refusing to pay bills

Both contestants have pledged to take action to tackle the crisis, but Ms Truss has refused to commit to more support for families as bills continue to spiral.

She said she would not "write the Budget in advance" but said her priority was driving through tax cuts "from day one" to kick-start the economy.

Mr Sunak pledged on Monday to tackle the crisis using the framework he put in place as Chancellor.

"People need proven methods that will deliver for them quickly. So I will use the framework I created to provide further support and give millions of people the peace of mind they desperately need ahead of the winter,” he said.

"I'm very clear about what is required to help people, and as soon as we know how much bills will go up by, I will act."