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Opinion
Javier Blas

Listening to European Electricity Traders Is Very, Very Scary

Keeping the lights on in Europe this winter may prove more difficult than governments are currently admitting.

Keeping the lights on in Europe this winter may prove more difficult than governments are currently admitting.

Keeping the lights on in Europe this winter may prove more difficult than governments are currently admitting.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
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Every week, the people who trade electricity in the UK get to quiz the managers of the national grid for an hour. The conference call, which anyone can monitor, offers an insight into what the men and women on the front line of the power market are worried about. Listening to them is getting scarier by the week — and suggests keeping the lights on this winter will be a lot more challenging than European governments are admitting.

Prices are worrying enough. British households were told on Friday that their power and gas bills will increase from Oct. 1 by 80%. The so-called energy price cap was set at £3,549 ($4,189) per year, up from £1,971 over the past six months and £1,277 during last winter.