One of the elements of today’s energy bill that is likely to go relatively unnoticed (except for by FT readers of course) is a clause asking gas companies to pay a market price for the gas they use, even if an emergency has sent gas prices soaring.
The idea is that it will encourage gas companies to make sure they never get into that situation, as it would be prohibitively expensive to buy gas at such prices. At the moment, the companies would pay the same price during an emergency as they would have done immediately before.
The policy actually marks a U-turn, at least for the Conservative half of the coalition. Back in March, David Cameron announced that his party would deal with a possible crisis in the security of gas supply by obliging gas companies to maintain supplies even in emergencies.