Plant shutdowns 'could lead to higher energy costs'

25 October 2007
The temporary closure of British Energy's nuclear reactors will result in an increase in consumers' electricity bills, it has been suggested.

British Energy revealed that a quarter of consumers will be affected by the short-term switch-off, which took place after corrosion was identified in some of its nuclear reactors during inspections.

Although the move led to a 17 per cent increase in wholesale prices, SimplySwitch.com's Karen Darby has noted that consumers need not be too alarmed since spikes in electricity costs are normally absorbed by the energy suppliers.

Creeping gas price increases, however, she described as "bad news for the entire domestic energy market".

Although British Energy's closure of the nuclear reactors should have little effect on long-term costs, gas price hikes are instead more likely to result in rising energy costs, according to Ms Darby.

"Some analysts are predicting that energy prices will rise by the end of the year and we are seeing more and more customers enquiring about capped energy tariffs," she said.

Over 2.8 million UK households switched their energy supplier during the first seven months of 2007, according to research by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets.

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