Two major energy suppliers have appealed to the Conservative Party to keep some of Britain's most polluting power stations operating beyond a deadline set by the EU.
Business gas and electricity suppliers RWE npower and E.ON are lobbying senior Tory MPs to help keep nine coal and oil-fired power plants open. The plants are due to close at the end of 2015 under new pollution regulations set out by the EU.
RWE npower and E.ON, which are both German-owned, are hoping for at least some of the plants to be exempted for the rules and have argued that Britain could face blackouts if enough replacement stations are not built.
Altogether, the six coal and three oil-fired plants generate 12.3 gigawatts of electricity - which is about 15 per cent of the UK's total electricity supplies.
David Porter, chief executive of the Association of Electricity Producers, said keeping some of the plants open is "on the agenda" as ministers are concerned about power cuts.
Last month, Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK, warned that forcing the oil-fired plants to close could significantly compromise the security of Britain's cheap energy supplies.
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