Energy price crisis: There's no point sending bills to people who can't pay them – Brian Wilson

Among the voices demanding drastic government action to pre-empt the energy bill disaster, the most interesting belong to industry leaders urging intervention on a scale politicians would be nervous of advocating.

There is, of course, irony in this enthusiasm for state intervention from those who have profited so handsomely from a market which did much to create this mess. However, the situation is too urgent and extreme to dwell upon mere irony.

These companies know that vast numbers of grossly inflated bills would simply not be paid. So what do they do then? Cut off households and businesses by the million? That is not a feasible option, either commercially or politically, as even Ms Truss might soon discover.

It is idle to talk about nationalising the suppliers as that would achieve nothing in the short term. Indeed the big energy companies would gladly get rid of their retail businesses if someone would take them off their hands.

Liz Truss may discover that allowing a situation in which millions of households are unable to pay their bills will have a political cost (Picture: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

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Government must freeze bills immediately while it works out a strategy. This means accelerating every approach to reducing gas dependency. It must look at the whole supply chain to identify where fortunes are being made. And it should review the role of a failed regulator.

That’s a big “to do” list but the immediate challenge really comes down to this very easy to understand point. There is no point in sending out bills to people and businesses who cannot pay them. If that is taken as the starting point, then there is a chance of sanity prevailing.

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