Sometimes, a dilemma just is not enough. When it comes to energy policy, it is often said we face a trilemma. We want and need our supply to be secure, affordable and low-carbon. At present, gas is failing to varying degrees on all three fronts.
Wholesale prices are up 250 per cent since the start of the year and 70 per cent since August. As we report today, crisis talks are taking place over a bailout for the energy sector amid fears that more companies could collapse within days.
There is even talk of a “Northern Rock-style bad bank“ being created to take on unprofitable customers from those firms that do go bust.
In truth, the UK faces both short and long-term challenges. For this winter, many people will find themselves paying vastly higher energy bills – prepayment customers were already set to swallow an increase of £153 from 1 October.
This will be compounded by the end of the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift and an annual inflation rate which rose to 3.2 per cent last month.
The crisis also highlights our continued reliance on imported fossil fuels and gas-powered boilers to heat our homes. As our city editor Oscar Williams-Grut comments, it should act as a wake-up call for Boris Johnson.
Finally, as a public service announcement, if your provider goes bust, check out Citizens Advice’s helpful page on what you need to do.
In the comment pages, Philip Collins warns the Prime Minister that he has put his fate in the hands of an old rival: Michael Gove. Meanwhile, in her nature column, Isabel Hardman crows about one of our brightest native birds - the jay.
This article appears in our newsletter, West End Final – delivered 4pm daily – bringing you the very best of the paper, from culture and comment to features and sport.