Brexit could cause higher energy prices and power blackouts, warns Lords committee

The UK will be more vulnerable to higher energy prices and power shortages after Brexit, peers have warned.

The House of Lords’ European Committee said Britain could face blackouts after leaving the EU in the event of extreme weather or unplanned outages.

The report, published on Monday, states: ‘Post-Brexit, the UK may be more vulnerable to supply shortages in the event of extreme weather or unplanned generation outages.’

Brexit could cause power problems for the UK (Picture: PA)
Brexit could cause power problems for the UK (Picture: PA)

Peers said if Britain leaves the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), it could cause shortages.

They said: ‘The UK’s use of nuclear material is currently enabled by its membership of Euratom, which facilitates trade in such material and ensures it is not diverted for military use.

‘The UK will be leaving Euratom as well as the EU and, if the government does not replicate its provisions by the date of departure, the UK could be unable to trade in nuclear goods and services, including importing nuclear material, as a result.

‘The government is taking measures to avoid this worst-case scenario, which could quickly lead to power shortages.’

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About 20% of Britain’s electricity comes from nuclear plants and the government hopes a new fleet of stations, beginning with EDF’s Hinkley Point C, will be built.

‘Failure to replace (Euratom‘s) provisions by the point of withdrawal could result in the UK being unable to import nuclear materials, bringing the UK’s civil nuclear industry to a halt,’ the report warned.

The UK imports up to 6% if its electricity from power links with France, the Netherlands and Ireland, while about 40% of its gas supply comes from Norwegian and European pipelines.

The House of Lords warned that power shortages could follow Brexit (Picture: PA)
The House of Lords warned that power shortages could follow Brexit (Picture: PA)

The House of Lords report said Britain’s energy trading outside of Europe’s Internal Energy Market will probably be less efficient than its current arrangements.

The report said: ‘This creates the potential for higher energy bills, and leaving the EU could risk supply shortages in the event of extreme weather or unplanned generation outages.’

Peers said the government must carry out a full review on the impact of leaving Europe’s energy market and plot a strategy for dealing with supply shortages.

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