Two companies in administration.
The effect has already been cited as a prime factor behind two North-East companies ( electronics firm Circatex in South Shields and iron foundry Vald Birn UK, at Cambois, near Ashington ( going into administration this month.
There is a rescue attempt at Circatex but Vald Birn will close in April, partly because of a doubled electricity cost. North-East Chamber of Commerce policy director Andrew Sugden said: "There's no indication the energy market is going to settle down to remove this pressure. I would imagine this company will be one of many who will start to make bold changes to cope with the crisis."
CBI assistant North-East director Liz Smith said: "Whilst changing shift patterns is a short-term remedy, the Government has a duty to stimulate debate on future sustainable, cost-effective energy usage and provision."