UK to set out more energy reforms 'very soon': Hunt

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt walks at Downing Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's government plans to announce reforms to the country's energy market "very soon", finance minister Jeremy Hunt said on Wednesday, after lawmakers blamed poorly designed regulation for some of the soaring cost of energy.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has pushed wholesale natural gas prices up sharply, and price rises in the run-up to the invasion had already triggered the collapse of numerous small energy suppliers which failed to prepare for big price rises.

Consumers have faced massive rises in their bills - in part because current regulation links household electricity prices to the cost of natural gas, even where the electricity is generated from other sources.

Appearing before the British parliament's Treasury Committee, Hunt said he sympathised with lawmakers who were dissatisfied with this, and who were also upset about delays in approving new electricity generation and power lines.

"The solution is to move faster on nuclear and renewables to encourage energy efficiency, but also - and this is all going to be set out by the business secretary very soon - to look at the fundamental reforms that we need in the energy market ... because it hasn't been operating as it needs to," Hunt said.

Britain's business ministry launched a review into Britain's electricity market in July, which has yet to report.

Last week, Britain's budget watchdog estimated the government would spend 43 billion pounds ($52 billion) on business and consumer energy subsidies this financial year, and at least 13 billion pounds to help households in 2023-24.

($1 = 0.8313 pounds)

(Reporting by David Milliken and Suban Abdulla, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)