The nuclear industry has said unless action taken to ensure investment in new, low carbon electricity production the UK will face an energy crisis.
Electricity and gas market regulator Ofgem’s Chief Executive, Alistair Buchanan, warned of higher prices for consumers as demand for gas increased.
“That is why the Government’s reforms to the electricity market and its gas strategy are so important,” he said.
Mr Buchanan added: “We have to face the likelihood that avoiding power shortages will also carry a price.
"If you can imagine a ride on a rollercoaster at a fairground, then this winter we are at the top of the circuit and we head downhill - fast.
"Within three years we will see reserve margin of generation fall from below 14% to below 5% - that is uncomfortably tight."
The nuclear industry said it provides clean, reliable energy that is stably-priced and helps protect consumers against the major price spikes sparked by fluctuating international gas prices.
Keith Parker, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said:
“Today's statement from the Chief Executive of Ofgem is a wake up call for the UK – we are facing a severe energy crisis in the near future unless urgent action is taken to ensure investment in new, low carbon electricity production.
“Furthermore, the recent poll by YouGov was an overwhelming vote of confidence in low-carbon and shows a clear mandate from the British public for the Government to maintain the momentum on creating a low-carbon future.
“EDF Energy reported last month that its eight nuclear power stations produced their highest output for 7 years in 2012 – 22% of electricity in the last quarter and enough to power half of the UK's homes – and once operational Hinkley Point C will generate enough near-zero carbon electricity to power 5 million homes for 60 years.
“Despite planned life extensions of an average of 7 years, plants will be coming off line and after 2023 only Sizewell B from the existing nuclear fleet will be operating. Nuclear energy will play a vital role filling the energy gap in the UK's low carbon energy future.
“The Government must maintain momentum to incentivise the investment needed to replace our ageing, largely fossil fuelled energy infrastructure with new, low carbon generation.”