Energy crisis: Britons sent horror rationing warning this winter

Truss set to make £100bn energy plan making party 'uncomfortable'

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During her Tory leadership campaign, Ms Truss had pledged that there would be no energy rationing in the UK under her leadership. Europe is facing a major fossil fuel energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has sent prices soaring while threatening energy security. As Vladimir Putin recently cut off gas supplies flowing through Nord Stream 2, EU countries have begun rationing their gas in a desperate bid to keep the lights on during the winter.

In the face of such a nightmare scenario, Renaud Foucart, a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Lancaster University warned that “whether Liz Truss likes it or not”, British consumers should expect some form of energy rationing this winter.

The EU’s energy woes are primarily caused by the decreased supply from Russia, a major energy exporter to the bloc.

Even though the UK was not reliant on Russian gas, accounting for 4 percent of its supplies, Europe’s interconnected gas supplies, reliance on global gas markets and limited capacity to import and store means gas supply and demand changes affect every European country’s ability to secure enough energy.

Dr Foucart wrote: “We saw this recently when Germany announced it had filled its storage faster than expected and UK gas prices fell by a whopping 29 percent.

“Similarly, when Germany was on a buying spree to fill its storage, prices soared for everyone.

“As the UK has very limited storage capacity, it is particularly subject to such ups and downs.”

In a Twitter thread, he noted that in the UK, “there will be some form of rationing, either due to market prices, disorganised rationing, or organised one.

Looking at each of these three scenarios, he wrote the first form of rationing, through market prices is already taking place.

He said: “Bills so high firms stop producing. Households cut as much as possible.

“Some people have to choose between food and heating. Brutal free market, ‘efficient’ and unfair without massive cash transfers.”

He also warned against disorganised rationing, which is where the Government would try to block prices but does not do anything about demand.

He wrote: “At some point, either prices go up again and cancel the subsidy, or you have too much demand and have to organise blackouts.

“Then we can move to organised rationing. It is in the EU Commission proposal to be discussed on Friday.

“It is nowhere in the public discourse in the UK.”

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He noted that every time someone stops buying energy, it decreases the price for everybody else, adding “you need some people to do that to manage scarcity”.

He wrote: “While Truss has ruled out the use of rationing to address the current energy crisis, there are few alternatives that are not radical or interventionist or both.

“For example, the government could tell some businesses to close or make it illegal to heat some buildings above a given temperature.

“Another option is to organise restrictions at the country level, as the UK was forced to do in the 1970s.

“Delaying a transparent public discussion on important contingency plans is not a viable alternative, however.

“It will only make the problem of managing demand for subsidised energy more complicated to solve in the coming winter months.”

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