* Importing more could save 3 mln pounds/day -National Grid
* Could cut household bills by 13 pounds/year by 2020
LONDON, March 31 Britain could save 1 billion
pounds ($1.7 billion) a year in electricity costs by 2020 by
doubling its interconnector capacity with Europe, network
operator National Grid said on Monday.
Its report came days after an outcry over soaring bills
prompted a review of competition in Britain's electricity sector
and as politicians have focussed on how to keep a lid on costs
Britain now has around 4 gigawatts of capacity available on
interconnectors, cables that allow electricity to flow between
countries, with France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Northern
Ireland. Doubling this figure by 2020 could help bring down
energy costs, a report by National Grid said.
"It is estimated that each 1 GW of new interconnector
capacity could reduce Britain's wholesale power prices up to 1-2
percent," the report said.
Wholesale power prices are higher in Britain than some other
European countries in part because of Britain's domestic carbon
tax and also its increasing imports of natural gas.
Adding 4-5 GW of inerconnector capacity could lead to
savings of nearly 3 million pounds a day, which could cut
household energy bills by around 13 pounds per year, the report
In response to the report, Secretary of State for Energy and
Climate Change Ed Davey said increasing Britain's energy links
with Europe was one of his top priorities.
"These power links to Europe will make an energy single
market a reality, which is something successive British
governments have pushed for but with only limited success to
date," he said.
In 2012 Britain announced plans to investigate building an
interconnector with Iceland to transport some of its geothermal
and hydropower-generated power to British homes.
The so-called IceLink could bring around 1.2 GW of capacity
to Britain by 2023 and is expected to cost around 4 billion
Another five new interconnector projects with Belgium,
France, Norway and Ireland are in development and could provide
as much as 6.2 GW of capacity by 2020.
($1 = 0.6011 British Pounds)
(Reporting By Susanna Twidale; editing by Jane Baird)