Steel activists demand action against soaring energy costs amid shutdowns
Some power plants have stopped production due to soaring electricity prices
Steel industry activists tonight urged the Conservatives to be ready to step in as some companies suspend operations amid skyrocketing energy costs.
Prices have skyrocketed in recent weeks, forcing some companies to shut down production.
The Mirror explained earlier this year that cash-strapped UK metal companies pay twice as much for electricity as their French rivals and 50% more than their German counterparts.
An industry study, The Energy Price Scandal: A Fair Power Deal for UK Steel, has shown that the average price of electricity for steel producers in the UK is around £ 65 per megawatt hour (Mwh ), compared to £ 31 / MWh in France and £ 43. / MWh in Germany.
Experts then warned that the additional overhead would hamper attempts to make the industry more environmentally friendly by reducing emissions.
Now the costs have skyrocketed even more.
Community Steelworkers Union operations manager Alasdair McDiarmid told the Mirror this evening: “Soaring electricity prices are incredibly worrying and a threat to British steelworkers.
“We need urgent action to tackle the sky-high prices in the UK.
“There is currently a huge price inequality when it comes to electricity prices, with the UK paying twice as much for electricity as our European competitors.
“This puts us at a major competitive disadvantage and is an obstacle to achieving the government’s climate goals.
“We know that with the right support framework, our industry has a bright future at the heart of a low carbon economy, but we need the government to support us by tackling electricity prices in as part of a global strategy to decarbonise the British steel industry. “
UK Steel Managing Director Gareth Stace said: “These sky-high prices force some UK steelmakers to suspend operations during periods when the cost of energy is in the thousands per megawatt hour; last year prices were around £ 50 per megawatt hour.
Edward Moss Photography)
“Even with such a vibrant global steel market, these sky-high prices make it impossible to profitably manufacture steel at certain times of the day and night.
“As prices rose across Europe, wholesale prices quadrupled in the UK and simply tripled in Germany, factoring in carbon costs.
“This exacerbates the already very unequal disparity in electricity prices between British steelmakers and our European competitors. ”
He said that “the government and Ofgem must be ready to take action as this situation continues,” adding: “Electricity prices are rising during the winter months, so the situation is getting worse every day. urgent “.
Aberavon Labor MP Stephen Kinnock, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on steel and metals-related industries, said: Britain’s steel industry.
“Our steelworkers make the best steel money can buy, but they are forced to compete with a hand tied behind their back by a government that speaks only of words and no action.”
A spokesperson for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “We are committed to securing a competitive future for the UK steel industry and in recent years we have provided extensive support, including over 600 million euros. pounds sterling to reduce energy costs and protect work.
“The UK enjoys access to a wide variety of gas supply sources, but our exposure to volatile global gas prices underscores the importance of our plan to build a local renewable energy sector.
“We are closely monitoring the current situation and are in regular contact with heavy industry, including steel producers, to help them deal with the current situation.”
The Mirror has been campaigning for Save Our Steel since the industry was hit by factory closures and thousands of layoffs in 2015.