By Jonathan Davies

Power companies will receive nearly £1 billion from the government to make sure power plants stay open and the lights don't go out in the next few years.

In a market auction, more than 49GW of capacity has been purchased at £19.40 per KW. It means total cost will reach £960m and is expected to add around £11 to the average household bill.

In a statement, the government said it would "ensure that enough of our existing capacity will remain open at the end of the decade as well as unlocking new investment, including a large independent gas plant at Trafford".

Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said it was "great news for consumers".

The auction moves to ensure that the country does not suffer from blackouts in the coming years. The power companies are being paid to step in to plug any gaps in supply that may occur.

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