British homes could experience power cuts for up to three hours if gas supplies go critically low this winter, National Grid has warned.
Despite claiming it was an “unlikely” situation, the business cautioned that supply disruptions would be possible if the energy crisis worsened.
Customers would be informed in advance if there were any cuts, which are likely to happen during busy hours.
National Grid anticipates no issues for houses as a “base case,” nevertheless.
Customers would be informed of the power cuts at least a day in advance, and they would take place during periods of peak demand, possibly in the morning or more likely between 4 and 9 p.m.
So that not every region of the nation saw an impact at once, they would be alternated.
Prime Minister Liz Truss promised there wouldn’t be any energy rationing this winter when running for the position of leader of the Conservative Party in August.
When asked on Thursday if she could guarantee there wouldn’t be any blackouts, the Prime Minister responded that the government is clear about what must be done to maintain a reliable energy supply in the UK. However, she continued by saying that while the UK is far better off than many other nations in terms of energy, more needs to be done to maintain that.
Gas-fired power plants account for more than 40% of the nation’s electricity production in the UK, which is strongly dependent on gas. However, from continental Europe, it also imports electricity.
According to National Grid, which operates the power grids in England, Scotland, and Wales, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused “unprecedented turbulence and volatility” in the energy markets.
The majority of Europe’s gas imports from Russia have been cut off, leaving nations looking for substitute sources of supply.
What the National Grid said about power cuts
Even though mainland Europe is much more dependent on Russian gas than is Britain, National Grid warned that any shortages there could have a ripple effect in Britain.
Three situations could occur this winter, according to research. Its underlying premise is still that there will be enough energy to give Britain similar levels of electricity to prior winters.
It has, however, modeled two additional unsettling possibilities.
The first would see Britain unable to import electricity from France, Belgium, or the Netherlands, while power would still come from Norway due to the European energy crisis.
According to a warning from National Grid, the situation could result in shortages.
However, it claimed to have agreements in place with EDF, Drax, and Uniper, as well as three other power providers, to maintain extra coal-fired power generators ready and waiting in case they are required.
Moreover, starting on November 1, a program will be implemented to encourage both enterprises and people to use less electricity during critical periods:
Smart meter households might receive rewards for reducing energy usage, such as by not using their oven or washing machine. Estimated payments to households each day would be about £10.
Larger enterprises will be rewarded for lowering consumption by rearranging their energy usage schedules or using batteries or generators during peak hours.
Though some suppliers have expressed concerns about the program, National Grid invites them to collaborate with clients to secure the “highest levels of engagement.”
It believes that with these safeguards in place, supply disruptions would be prevented. It claimed, however, to have modeled a second, more extreme scenario in which the energy crisis in Europe worsens, and there is an insufficient gas supply in Britain.
In such a scenario, it stated that distributors would be compelled to turn off the electricity to homes and businesses for up to three hours during the day. The King would have to approve the legislation, which hasn’t been employed since the 1970s.
It also said that the amount of gas-powered power stations that must close due to a gas shortage would determine how many people will lose access to energy.
Hospitals and “priority enterprises” would be spared the cuts. However, according to the Energy Networks Association, vulnerable folks wouldn’t necessarily be shielded from the cuts.
According to National Grid, the industry would cooperate with the government to hold press conferences akin to COVID to tell the public about such initiatives.