22/09/2021 20:48 BST | Updated 22/09/2021 20:54 BST

Lights Go Out As Boss Of UK Energy Watchdog Reassures MPs Over Looming Power Shortages

Around 1.5 million customers have seen their supplier go out of business this month.

Parliament TV
Ofgem boss Jonathan Brearley was plunged into darkness on Wednesday.

The boss of the UK’s energy regulator was plunged into darkness – just as he reassured MPs about keeping the lights on this winter.

Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley was appearing virtually before a parliamentary committee to discuss spiking gas prices that have forced some energy suppliers out of business.

Around 1.5 million customers have seen their supplier go to the wall this month as companies have promised to sell gas to customers for less than it currently costs to buy from producers – putting them in a difficult position if they did not buy ahead as a form of insurance.

Shortly after telling MPs that there were plans in place to prevent disruption to customers’ supplies, Brearley had to interrupt the session and trigger a sensor that had automatically switched the lights off in his meeting room.

While a committee member quipped about security of supply issues, Brearley was quick to explain: “It’s movement-sensitive lights to save energy...just to reassure the committee.”

In the hearing, Brearley declined to put a number on how many customers are with a supplier at risk of collapse.

He said: “We do expect a large number of customers to be affected, we’ve already seen hundreds of thousands of customers affected, that may well go well above that. It’s very hard for me to put a figure on it.”