FEARS have been raised households across the UK could suffer energy shortages after Norway mooted plans to ration electricity exports.
The Scandinavian country has announced new rules limiting the sale of power to foreign countries due to heatwaves impacting its hydroelectric power output, The Telegraph reports.
Experts said the new rules could see UK's plans to draw power from Norway this winter via the North Sea Link under threat.
Supply to Europe and the UK is already limited due to the ongoing Russia and Ukraine war, as Russia limits the amount of natural gas it sends west.
Last month it closed down a turbine on Nord Stream 1, a major pipeline into Europe.
Kathryn Porter, a consultant at energy consultancy Watt-Logic, told The Telegraph the proposed restrictions put Britain's ability to import from Norway this winter at risk.
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"National Grid ESO needs to urgently update its winter outlook taking account of this threat to Britain's energy security,” she added.
“Longer term, we need to develop more domestic generation and rely less on imports.”
A National Grid spokesperson said the company would update its winter forecasts to ensure they are "as robust as possible" in the autumn.
Meanwhile, Aurora Energy warned the restrictions would see electricity prices go up because National Grid would have to rely on coal-fired plants as backup.
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It comes as energy bills have soared in recent months.
Recent estimates predict the energy price cap will rise to around £4,200 from January.
The reason prices are rising so much is because the cost of wholesale energy has risen to all-time highs and energy providers are passing those costs onto consumers.
And wholesale prices have gone up so much because of Russia limiting supply to Europe and the UK.
But it's also because costs were already high before that, due to a cold winter in Europe last year which put pressure on supplies.
This means gas levels are lower than normal, and it becomes more expensive to buy.
The shortage of energy led to warnings last month millions of households could be asked to turn down their thermostats and switch off their lights to avoid blackouts later this year.
What help can I get with my bills?
Half of all households are cutting back on food so they can afford to pay for rising energy bills.
But if you're struggling to pay for them or are worried about the upcoming price cap rise, there is support on offer.
Here is a list of some of the support you might be able to get hold of.
Energy Bill Support Scheme
Earlier this year, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a raft of supportive measures for households struggling through the cost of living crisis.
Among them was the Energy Bill Support Scheme, which will see all households with a domestic electricity connection receive a £400 grant from October.
Households don't need to apply for the scheme – it's expected that in most cases electricity suppliers will apply the reduction to bills automatically.
As the money is a grant and not a loan, it does not need to be paid back.
Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount Scheme is another option if you're struggling to pay for your energy bills.
The scheme is a one-off payment of £150 that goes towards heating costs.
It is usually paid directly to your energy supplier, which will then apply the discount to your bills.
If you are someone with a pre-payment meter, you'll be sent a £150 voucher instead which you can use to top up your account.
The government hasn't confirmed what date the scheme will be open for applications this year, however in 2021 households could apply from October 18.
Some energy providers offer hardship funds for those who can't pay their bills.
British Gas is one, and opened its scheme at the start of this month.
There are a number of others that offer tailored support.
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To find out if your supplier can offer your help through a hardship fund, it's best to contact them in the first instance.
Or you can check our our list of suppliers that offer help.
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