Preventing blackout is energy department's top priority

Preventing a blackout in Britain this winter is the "top priority" for the new Energy and Climate Change Department, Ed Miliband has said

Preventing a blackout in Britain this winter is the "top priority" for the new Energy and Climate Change Department, Ed Miliband has said.

Ministers meet with the National Grid and regulator Ofgem every week to make sure the country's lights will stay on, the Energy Secretary told MPs.

He said he had been reassured that a blackout was unlikely but was "not complacent", adding: "It's something that we keep a very close eye on."

At Commons question time, Tory Philip Hollobone (Kettering) listed a number of potential issues with Britain's energy supply.

He said: "There could be problems if there are unscheduled outages in major power plants, problems with the gas interconnecter with Europe and a cold winter. What priority are you attaching to ensuring that there isn't a major blackout in this country this winter."

Miliband replied: "You make an important point and the answer is it's my top priority and it's something that we monitor on a weekly basis.

"Myself and and the Minister of State for Energy talk to the National Grid, we talk to Ofgem, about all these issues.

"The National Grid at the moment is reassuring me about the prospects for this winter but I am not complacent about that and it's something that we keep a very close eye on."

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