express– Panic has erupted once again as the Russian President turns the screw on gas supplies. EU governments could reportedly resort to curbing sales of natural gas and power to “third countries| to ease their own energy crisis. It comes as European Union ministers continue to discuss what solutions to implement to protect EU citizens and companies from energy price hikes. Currently, most countries are using tax cuts, subsidies and other national-level measures to protect consumers against the impact of higher gas prices on energy bills.
But in August, UK energy suppliers announced they would raise the prices for gas and electricity to the highest level allowed by Ofgem, Britain’s energy regulator.
The energy price cap in the UK, the maximum suppliers can charge customers, has now reached meant that millions of homes are paying the highest bills seen in decades.
The UK has already been suffering badly from the looming energy crisis, with over 12 energy suppliers going bust alongside the soaring prices.
Now, fears have reached an all-time high after Mr Putin reportedly halted gas passing through the Yamal pipeline via Poland, as well as halving that coming through Ukraine to Austria and southern Germany.
Russia is a major energy supplier for Europe, with 43 percent of member states receiving supplies from the country.
As the EU scramble to resolve the crisis, the UK could now suffer as a result, looking all the more terrifying as we prepare for a cold winter and could expect to see demand for energy soar even higher.
The UK has already been put under pressure from France over the last few weeks following the post-Brexit fishing rights rows.
Britain had been accused by France of not keeping its promises signed under the Brexit deal, but Britain stood their ground and has refused to issue more permits for French fishing boats in Jersey.
As a result, France has threatened to cut its energy supplies to the UK.
Earlier this month, UK ministers said they ‘would never trust France again’ if they cut Britain’s power
A fifth of UK’s electricity is powered by French-owned EDF nuclear stations.
This has not helped ease the fears that EU ministers could call to cut supplies to save their own Governments at the upcoming Luxembourg discussions.
Best for Britain, UK’s leading cross-party advocacy group wrote on Twitter last week: “EU energy ministers are holding an emergency meeting in Luxembourg tomorrow to discuss the escalating energy crisis.
“If shortages worsen, EU governments can resort to curbing sales of natural gas and power to third countries.”
This left SNP MP Angus MacNeil terrified, who has suggested the EU talks will deal a blow to the UK as it is a “third country” post-Brexit.
He replied on Twitter: “Can anyone think of a “third country” that this EU decision could affect? Hm.”
The gas price crisis is fast becoming a major challenge for the EU.
As a cold winter approaches, the handling of the situation is being seen as a “litmus test” for Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen.
Russia has in the past denied manipulating supplies, stating that it has always honoured contractual agreements and quotas.
One expert has said Russia’s recent squeeze could be as a result of criticism of Russia over their climate change policies, and for failing to attend the COP26 meeting.
Professor Alan Riley, a gas expert said: “This is Moscow’s reaction to the Green Deal. The message… you will not be able to carry out the energy transition without Russian consent and only on Russian terms.”
The expert also claims that Russia has a hidden agenda when it comes to exports, backing reports that Mr Putin is politicising the issue.
“Because we know that Gazprom has some free production capacity, the record-breaking low gas exports can only be explained by a hidden Russian agenda,” said Professor Riley.