Ofgem chief executive warns energy customers on chance of higher bills

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The chief executive of Ofgem has warned gas and electricity customers they could face higher energy bills as the country becomes more reliant on sources from outside the UK.

Alistair Buchanan warned that an increased demand for energy - coupled with the closing old power plants - could result in demand outstripping the supply available by 2015, meaning the country would need to rely more on gas imports from other countries: Although global gas supplies are also set to tighten.

Due to many coal and oil power stations closing down a lot quicker than had originally been planned, the energy regulator has warned ten per cent of the current generation stock could be lost as early as next month.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Buchanan warned of the predicament facing the UK:  "There is no new nuclear, no new clean coal, no new carbon capture this side of 2020.

"So we will lean on gas, and gas will account for about 60% of our power station needs instead of 30% today, and in order to get hold of that gas we're going to have to go shopping round the world."

Mr Buchanan said he understood customers could be concerned over energy suppliers potentially trying to take advantage of the rising prices, however he added that he was pleased with how the firms had responded to Ofgem's criticism on certain issues two years ago.

"I am very encouraged by what the industry is doing - they are paying their fines for behaving badly, they've stopped mis-selling, they are carrying forward a lot of retail market reforms."

Mr Buchanan also urged customers to seek out various schemes designed by the government to help consumers save money on their energy bills.

Schemes such as the Green Deal aim at providing things such as home insulation or items such as an energy efficient boiler to customers to help make their home more energy efficient, with the customer then paying back for the measures as part of their energy bill.

Other measures designed to help the more vulnerable in the UK include the Warm Home Discount Scheme which provides those eligible to the scheme with money back on their electricity bills.

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