UK could face blackouts by 2015 - Ofgem warns

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Industry regulator Ofgem has warned that the United Kingdom could face blackouts in the near future.

Currently the chances of a blackout occurring stand at zero, however, this is expected to reach one in 12 by 2015-16, the Telegraph has reported. This is because the amount of operational power stations in the UK is decreasing and with it so is the country's spare generation capacity.

Whilst the spare generation capacity is currently around 14 per cent, as more and more old power stations, producing large amounts of pollution, are shut down this capacity will fall to just four per cent.

It has been speculated that industrial customers could be amongst the first to have their electricity supplies shut off in a blackout.

Commenting on the prospect, Corin Taylor, senior economic advisor with the Institute of Directors, told the Telegraph that the prospect was "deeply concerning,"  and that ensuring that factories continue to run "is vital for investment in our economy."

In a bid to combat the prospect of a blackout, ministers are proposing to bring through a reform in the new Energy Bill. Created to attract around £110 billion in new power plant investment - which could in-turn boost spare generation capacity - it has received a significant amount of criticism from those within the energy industry.

Chief executive of RWE npower, Volker Beckers, stated that the proposals had caused "substantial uncertainty for potential investors whilst these changes are made." He then went onto add that the government needs to ensure that "these changes are implemented swiftly and effectively."

Meanwhile EDF Energy - one of a number of energy suppliers partaking in the Warm Home Discount Scheme - has claimed that the statistics highlighted by Ofgem displayed "the need for action to fill the forthcoming energy gap in the UK."

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