Face reality on energy, Centrica says

June 23, 2011 at 8:09 AM
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LONDON, June 23 (UPI) -- There is a huge disconnect between what London wants in terms of clean energy and what British consumers are willing to pay, a utility official said.

Sam Laidlaw, chief executive at the country's top energy supplier Centrica, said British consumers might not be willing to pay the money to back London's efforts to spur a low-carbon economy and increase energy security.

He said that, in his view, the country had one year to take action on a clean energy future.

"But the public needs to know the price and the public needs to take ownership of the decision, along with the energy companies and the government," he said in a statement.

British energy regulator Ofgen said the investments needed to meet the country's clean-energy objectives means consumer bills could increase by as much as 52 percent.

Laidlaw proposed a multitiered plan to meet energy challenges. It includes public forums, more natural gas in the energy mix and incentives to exploit reserves remaining in the North Sea.

"We are rapidly approaching a tipping point in the energy story of this country and there is a risk that society is not being realistic about the path ahead," he said.

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