National Grid has warned that British households could lose power for up to three hours at a time this winter. The British multinational electricity and gas utility company said it was “unlikely” but admitted that, if gas supplies run extremely low, supply interruptions were a possibility if the energy crisis escalated.
Cuts would occur possibly in the morning, or more likely between 4pm and 9pm, and households would be warned in advance. Still, as a “base case”, National Grid predicts homes will face no problems. Nonetheless, if power cuts occur, the company said that customers would be informed at least a day in advance.
These power cuts will be rotated so not all areas of the country are affected at the same time.
Liz Truss pledges that there will be no blackouts this winter
During her campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party in August, Prime Minister Liz Truss promised that there would be no blackouts this winter.
Asked on Thursday if she could guarantee there would be no energy rationing this winter, the Prime Minister said, “what we’re clear about is that we do have a good supply of energy in the UK, we’re in a much better position than many other countries, but of course there’s always more we can do and that’s why I’m here working with our partners making sure we do have a secure energy supply into the future”.
Reports have suggested that members of the government wish to run a campaign this winter encouraging households to save energy, but Liz Truss has ruled out launching an energy-saving campaign.
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “Ministers are not launching a public information campaign and any claim otherwise is untrue.”
“Unprecedented turmoil and volatility” in the energy markets
The UK depends on gas to produce electricity, with gas-fired power generation equating to more than 40% of the country’s electricity, as well as importing electricity from Continental Europe.
National Grid said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked “unprecedented turmoil and volatility” in the energy markets.
Gas flows from Russia to Europe have been cut off, leaving countries struggling to source alternative supplies.
Although the UK is far less dependent on Russian gas than mainland Europe, it could still suffer the domino effects caused by shortfalls in supplies on the continent, National Grid warned.
Business Secretary backs £15m campaign to halt power blackout
Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg is believed to have backed a £15m campaign to halt power blackouts this winter, but the energy-saving campaign was ruled out by Liz Truss.
The campaign included measures aimed to help people save up to £300 a year through lowering the temperatures of boilers, turning off radiators in empty rooms and advising households to turn off the heating when they’re not at home.
The Times reported the campaign as a “no-brainer,” with a government source believing No 10 had made a “stupid decision.”
Liz Truss is “ideologically opposed”
The paper added the Prime Minister is said to be “ideologically opposed” to such an approach as it could be too interventionist.
A government spokesman said: “The UK has a secure and diverse energy system.
“We have plans to protect households and businesses in the full range of scenarios this winter, in light of Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine.
“To strengthen this position further, we have put plans in place to secure supply and National Grid, working alongside energy suppliers and Ofgem, will launch a voluntary service to reward users who reduce demand at peak times.
“We will continue to work internationally on tackling rising energy prices and ensuring security of supply, but there are no current plans to follow the EU’s decision.
“However, ministers are not launching a public information campaign and any claim otherwise is untrue.”
While the National Grid admitted it’s “unlikely”, they warned Britain could face rolling three-hour blackouts this winter if imports stall. Ultimately, consuming less energy is the best way for households to lower their bills. So, it’s unsurprising that the decision to rule out an energy-saving campaign has been described by Will Hodson as “dogmatic and dangerous”.
“Given the government has put the taxpayer on the hook for every unit of energy used in the country, they have a duty to help us use less. This abdication of responsibility will undoubtedly increase the likelihood of blackouts,” the consumer champion and founder of How to Save It said.