THIS is the hilarious moment the lights went out on an energy boss as he tried to reassure MPs the gas crisis won’t spark blackouts.
Ofgem chief Jonathan Brearley was left momentarily in the dark as he gave evidence to the Commons energy committee this morning.
He was appearing via Zoom when the lights in his office, which are triggered by motion sensors to save energy, were cut off.
The embarrassed watchdog chief exec apologised as he had to get up from his desk and wave his arms around to turn them back on.
As one MP quipped “the lights have gone out” a woman in the room reassured him “don’t panic, that’s not a security of supply issue”.
Mr Brearley then explained: “It’s movement sensitive lights to save energy efficiency.”
During his evidence he warned hundreds of thousands of Brits face being left in limbo when their energy supplier goes bust this winter.
Dozens of suppliers are expected to go under in the run up to Christmas due to the spiralling price of natural gas.
Mr Brearley told MPs: “We do expect a large number of customers to be affected.
“We’ve already seen hundreds of thousands of customers affected, that may well go well above that.
“It’s very hard for me to put a figure on it.”
Ofgem’s boss warned the five UK energy firms that have gone bust so far this year could just be the tip of the iceberg.
He said: “Have a look at the change in the gas price – it really is something that we don’t think we’ve seen before at this pace.
“We do expect more not to be able to face the circumstances we’re in.”
Britain has a “supplier of last resort” scheme in place to make sure customers of firms that go bankrupt aren’t left without supplies.
Under the blueprint those people are transferred to another company’s books to keep their gas and electricity on.
But there is no guarantee that they’ll be given the same tariff that they enjoyed with their former provider.
Ministers are looking at providing Government-Backed loans to those companies that take on such customers.
With gas prices spiralling there are fears many won’t want to accept more clients without taxpayer support.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said ministers are braced for “more failures” than in a usual year due to sky-rocketing prices of natural gas.
But he insisted Boris Johnson won’t step in to bail out “badly run” enterprises as happened during the 2008 banking crisis.
There have been fears of blackouts and food shortages in the run up to Christmas if the growing energy crisis deepens.
Mr Kwarteng insisted there’s “absolutely no question of the lights going out” and that Britain has a reliable supply of gas.
But he admitted there is little the Government can do about rising wholesale prices.
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