David Blackman Policy, Policy & regulation, News

The House of Commons’ rejection of the prime minister’s Brexit agreement means uncertainty for utilities and the risk of a “damaging” withdrawal from the EU without a deal, Energy UK has warned.

MPs voted by a crushing majority of 432 to 202 against Theresa May’s deal with the EU over the terms of Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc last night.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, said: “Tonight’s vote means continued uncertainty for business. As the parliamentary discussions continue, we reiterate our serious concerns over a possible no-deal Brexit which would be so damaging for the energy sector and its customers.

“It is critical we ensure the smooth functioning of markets, and the efficient flow of gas and electricity and cooperation on tacking climate change, in order to keep bills down for UK customers and businesses without compromising on protecting our environment.

“We will continue to work with the government to ensure the best Brexit deal for the energy sector, its customers and the wider economy.”

Emma Pinchbeck, deputy chief executive of Renewable UK, said quitting the EU without a deal threatened to “jeopardise” investment and jobs in the UK’s renewable energy sector.

She said: “We are world leaders in wind and marine energy, building vital new capacity to keep the lights on while slashing carbon emissions. A disorderly exit from the EU risks disrupting supply chains and undermining our ability to continue to reduce costs to consumers”.

The political declaration on the terms of the future EU-UK relationship, which forms part of the deal, includes sections on energy and nuclear co-operation.

The declaration states that the UK would remain linked into the EU Emission Trading System as well as leaving the door open for continued technical cooperation between electricity and gas networks operators as well as the organisations that plan and use interconnectors.

The framework also proposes s a “wide-ranging” nuclear cooperation agreement between the UK and the Euratom, the Europe-wide atomic power arrangement which the UK is leaving alongside the EU, underpinned by a commitment to high standards of nuclear safety.