Rising UK energy imports need Brexit care, Centrica says

The UK's largest supplier of power and natural gas wants the country to maintain its influence on EU energy policy after Brexit, because neighboring markets can shape prices in the country.
Photo: Dave Gadd.
Photo: Dave Gadd.

Centrica Plc, Britain's largest supplier of power and natural gas, wants the nation to maintain influence on European Union energy policy after Brexit because the country's prices will be set by neighboring markets.

"Our imports are growing and prices are set at the European market," said Iain Conn, chief executive officer of the Windsor, England-based utility that raised its power tariffs last week. "We need to maintain influence on the efficiency of the UK Energy market to protect UK Consumers. "

Britain's government said on Sunday, it wanted the lowest energy costs in Europe, announcing that it would survey its policies through October. The UK Has plans for at least 12 power cables to trade electricity, mainly with EU nations, even as it negotiates to leave the bloc.

"From an energy perspective, it's not clear there is really any win-lose negotiation, if we are sensible," Conn said in a reply to questions. Continuity of energy policies would "ensure stability and foreign investment into our energy system."

The utility last week boosted its UUK Electricity tariffs by 12.5 percent, saying it's been selling power at a loss.

The company's profit margins "will trend down to the low end of its 4 percent to 6 percent post-tax guidance," John Musk, an analyst at RBC Europe Ltd., said Monday in an emailed research note.

Across all industries, Britain should expect to bear some expense in leaving the EU if it means getting a payback over the following three decades, Conn said.

"Rather than the complexity of trying to renegotiate everything, I would advocate setting realistic red lines and then trying to achieve maximum continuity and be willing to pay something for it," Conn said.

Prime Minister Theresa May's office dismissed as speculation a report that the U.K. Is prepared to pay a 40 billion-euro ($ 47 billion) bill to leave the EU. Leading Brexit supporters have pushed back against paying anything at all.

"Essentially the UK Is making a 30-year investment in Brexit," Conn said.

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