by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The cost of electricity and gas for the average British household will nearly double in the coming months as Russia slowly cuts its gas supply amid its war with Ukraine, the New York Times reports.
Britain’s independent energy regulator, Ofgem, announced on Friday that the energy price cap will increase to £3,549 ($4,152.95) per year for an average household starting October 1. The cap, which is up from £1,971 in April, sets how much suppliers can charge households for the power and gas they use.
Britain is among the many European countries facing rising energy costs as Russia tightens the screws on energy imports amid the war.
Last week Russian gas giant Gazprom announced it would temporarily close its pipeline to Germany for “repairs,” though many believe Russia means to unsettle and drive up prices in Europe, the Times reported. Just before Russia invaded Ukraine, it supplied a third of Germany’s oil, around half its coal imports, and more than half its gas.
Back in 2018, then-U.S. president Donald Trump blasted Germany’s energy imports at a NATO summit, saying Germany was “totally controlled by Russia.” German officials laughed at the claim.
Ofgem CEO Jonathan Brearley said in a press release that “the price of energy has reached record levels driven by an aggressive economic act by the Russian state. They have slowly and deliberately turned off the gas supplies to Europe causing harm to our households, businesses, and wider economy.”
In Europe today, natural gas is 10 times more expensive than last year.
“Natural gas is the driver for the European electricity price,” Iain Conn, a former chief executive of Centrica, a large British utility, told theTimes. “When natural gas supplies get tight, the electricity market gets extremely exercised.”