The UK Government is holding urgent talks with representatives from the energy industry amid growing concern about a spike in wholesale gas prices.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is talking to gas suppliers and others this weekend to hear how wide-reaching the impact of surging prices could be.
The rise has been blamed on high global demand, maintenance issues and lower than expected solar and wind energy output.
A former head of the regulator Ofgem warned Britain is likely to face high energy prices for the rest of the year.
Dermot Nolan, a former Ofgem chief executive, said the increases were the result of depleted stocks following a cold winter last winter, reduced supply from Russia and increased demand for liquefied natural gas from the Far East.
He told the BBC: “It is not obvious to me what can be done in the very short run. Britain does have secure relatively diverse sources of gas, so I think the lights will stay on.
“But I am afraid it is likely in my view that high gas and high electricity prices will be sustained for the next three to four months,” he added.
“It is very difficult to see what the government can do directly in this regard.”
Meanwhile, the government is being urged by meat producers to step in to protect the food supply chain, after the gas price rise resulted in a cut in the supply of carbon dioxide to the industry.
British Meat Processors Association chief executive Nick Allen said CO2 is essential to both the humane slaughter of livestock and extending the shelf-life of products.
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