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UK 'vulnerable' to gas rationing

Energy prices are rising faster in Britain compared to many other nations in Europe because foreign suppliers are rationing domestically produced gas, MPs on the business and enterprise select committee have heard.

MPs were told that EU power monopolies were effectively rationing gas to the UK.

Jeremy Nicholson of the Energy Intensive Users Group told MPs that foreign power firms were ramping up prices by buying cheap North Sea gas from Britain in the summer but then refusing to pipe it back to the UK in the winter.

As a consequence, the UK was left "very vulnerable".

MP recognised one of the problems was the scope for gas storage in the UK.

They said they planned to ask ministers and industry regulator Ofgem for the apparent lack of storage facilities.

While UK energy prices have leapt 13.6 per cent in the past year, the figure is only 9.5 per cent in Germany, 12 per cent in France and just 2.8 per cent in the Netherlands.

UK household bills could rise by a further 25 per cent this autumn.

Industry groups are calling on the EU commission to break up the perceived monopoly of continental power supply by RWE and E.on of Germany and EdF of France.

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