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Three-hour blackouts on winter weekdays warning

18 Oct 2022 3 minute read
Photo by Katrina_S from Pixabay.

Households could face blackouts during January and February next year if the weather turns “really cold,” an energy boss has warned.

National Grid boss John Pettigrew warned a conference yesterday that there was a prospect of blackouts on weekdays, between 4pm-7pm, if there is a cold snap in January and February and gas imports are disrupted.

Speaking at the Financial Times’s Energy Transition Summit, Mr Pettigrew echoed a warning by National Grid earlier this month that shortages of gas, which generated 40% of UK electricity last year, could mean planned three-hour blackouts in some areas to protect supplies for heating homes and buildings.

The margins between peak demand and power supply are expected to be sufficient and similar to recent years in the National Grid Electricity System Operator’s (ESO) base case scenario for this winter.

But in the face of the “challenging” winter facing European energy supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the grid operator is also planning for what would happen if there were no imports of electricity from Europe and insufficient gas supplies.

To tackle a loss of imports from France, Belgium and the Netherlands, there are two gigawatts of coal-fired power plants on stand-by to fire up if needed to meet demand.

In a ‘Back Britain’ call, people are being encouraged to sign up with their electricity supplier to a scheme which will give them money back on their bills to shift their use of power away from times of high demand to help prevent blackouts.

‘Prepare for winter’

Those who heat their homes with off-grid energy such as LPG and renewable liquid fuels, are being urged to prepare for winter heating now, before fuel demand increases and in-home heating systems are needed.

George Webb, CEO at Liquid Gas UK, the trade association for the LPG and renewable liquid gas industry, says that taking precautionary steps to get ahead now will help to relieve some pressure on homeowners during the winter months.

“This summer the UK has experienced an extreme in weather, with a very hot, dry summer and record temperatures being recorded in the 40s. This winter could prove equally extreme. While we cannot be sure what to expect, it is important that LPG consumers are prepared for whatever the winter may throw at us this year.

“We recognise that this year in particular, news about global gas supplies and the cost of energy is causing concern for homeowners. As such, industry is ramping up its communication to customers much earlier than in previous years, to support them during this period.”

He added: “We’re advising homeowners to check their LPG tank level now, and speak to their supplier about optimum order times, and the options available for deliveries this winter being made by connecting to an automatic ordering system from their supplier.

“Going into winter with a full tank of fuel will provide peace of mind and it means that when it turns cold, it can help ease worries around their energy supply.”.

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Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 year ago

The disUK is the 7th largest economy in the world you know?

Valerie Matthews
Valerie Matthews
1 year ago

Pre ‘Brexit’ it was the fifth largest Economy, I am willing to bet that by this time next year, if this Tory Administration stays in power, we will have sunk a lot further down the table!

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 year ago

I woud agree, but given that Wales is a net exporter of power why are we being expected to put up with blackouts?

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