According to Labour, the shutdown and subsequent reopening of the UK’s largest gas storage station cost the government roughly £1.7 billion over two years.
Labour has blamed the Conservatives for what it calls an expensive mistake, accusing ministers of ignoring warnings over the closure of the Rough storage facility in the North Sea.
The storage facility had been closed since 2017, but it was partially reopened last year, storing approximately 30 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas.
Centrica expanded capacity at the station, the UK’s largest facility, last month in order to give the company with a larger safety cushion for next winter.
Labour claimed that with more storage, the UK could have purchased petrol at a lower cost today and saved it for use over the winter.
However, it stated that the country’s lack of capability will now cost it dearly.
According to Labour, the UK’s storage capacity is 2% of yearly demand, which is a fraction of the statistics in Germany, Italy, France, and the Netherlands.
“Despite warnings this Tory government shut down gas storage and once again left working people paying the price for their sticking plaster approach,” shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said.
“Yet another failure on energy security hasn’t just left families paying more, it’s left us exposed and reliant on others.
“Instead of investing in homegrown energy to lower bills, create jobs and strengthen our energy security, they are happy to keep laying the costs on working family.”
Labour said that the UK was paying £685 million more for winter gas this year, after paying £967 million more the previous year due to a lack of gas storage facilities.
According to the opposition, the government’s mistake was to put further strain on already stressed-out families.
“Built on the rock of economic responsibility, Labour will drive forward the industries of the future – working in partnership with businesses and workers – to sort out these Tory energy failures, get bills down and restore some economic security,” Ms Reeves said.
Grant Shapps, Energy Security Secretary, retaliated against Labour.
“We will take no lessons on energy security from the party that wants to ban new oil and gas licences in the North Sea, risking hundreds of thousands of British jobs, handing control of our energy to countries like Russia, and hiking up prices.
“Meanwhile, we are reinforcing our energy security by securing almost £200 billion of investment into low-carbon energy projects since 2010, backing new nuclear and floating offshore wind, and investing in low-carbon alternatives – helping to grow our economy.”