The sun rises behind electricity pylons near Chester

Britain’s electricity balancing costs double to more than 1 billion stg

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LONDON (Reuters) – The cost of making sure Britain’s electricity supplies were balanced with demand doubled to more than 1 billion pounds ($1.32 billion) for the three months to Nov. 30, regulator Ofgem said, voicing concern about the high fees many companies are charging for balancing services.

British energy prices have reached record highs this year as global gas prices have soared, forcing multiple British energy suppliers out of business since September but allowing some generators to receive unusually high fees for providing power at short notice.

“Given the implications of these prices for balancing costs, imbalance prices and ultimately consumer bills, we are actively considering whether the existing arrangements provide adequate protection against companies exercising market power, and remain in consumers’ interests,” Ofgem said in an open letter published on Monday.

Ofgem said it would closely monitor the balancing market.

“We will not hesitate to take action if we find evidence of market manipulation,” it said.

Britain’s National Grid ESO, a separate legal entity within National Grid responsible for overseeing the country’s electricity supply, said this month that it would review the way Britain’s power generators are paid to ensure the market remains balanced amid the soaring costs.

($1 = 0.7574 pounds)

(Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by David Goodman)