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UK Steel says government needs to help steelmakers after energy price spike

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By Reuters
UK Steel says government needs to help steelmakers after energy price spike
UK Steel says government needs to help steelmakers after energy price spike   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

By Susanna Twidale

LONDON -A lobby group for Britain’s steel industry said on Tuesday it welcomed efforts to seek help for the sector but wanted details about any plans that it said must address short-term energy price spikes and long-term energy costs hurting UK plants.

Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng has sought help from the finance ministry for industries affected by high energy prices. Lobby group Steel UK has said plants could be forced to shut if they do not receive help.

“We must see the details of such a proposal, to assess whether these measures will be sufficient to deal with the immediate problems we face,” UK Steel said in a statement.

The group wants protection for industry from extreme spikes in wholesale energy prices, after British gas and electricity prices hit record highs this year amid a global energy crunch.

“The key measure of success for this proposal is whether it places UK steel producers on a level playing field on energy costs compared to European counterparts,” UK Steel said.

The group said energy costs for British steel makers had been higher than their European rivals for some time, and any government measures needed to address this long-term issue.

During the extreme price spikes in September, UK steel said British steel makers paid over 109 pounds ($148) per megawatt hour (MWh) more for their electricity than German rivals.

It said this was “a further 22 million pounds per month added to UK steelmakers costs that our competitors are not paying.”

($1 = 0.7351 pounds)