National Grid has started planning for winter 2022, with energy demand to spike considerably in the coming months. Officials have recently laid out the utility firm’s plans for supply shortages as the western world continues to wean itself off Russian gas. Among the worst case scenarios is a plan for forced blackouts to conserve the country’s energy network, and National Grid has revealed the prospective timings for this possibility.
Will there be blackouts this winter?
Earlier this week, National Grid’s chief executive said British households could face blackouts.
Forced blackouts are among “unlikely” actions the firm may have to take to maintain a functional British energy network.
High demand and less fuel from Europe may force National Grid to take action on “really, really cold” evenings at the coldest time of year, John Pettigrew said.
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He told the Financial Times that Britons may have to live through power cuts on the “deepest darkest evenings in January and February”.
The new year often produces the coldest temperatures, with the monthly average for January and February sitting between 5C and 10C.
National Grid may enact power cuts between 4pm and 7pm on weekdays to conserve energy.
The blackouts wouldn’t hit the entire country simultaneously but rather “roll” across the UK, with different areas following local timetables.
The plan is one of several “unlikely” scenarios officials have outlined to help navigate potential energy shortages this winter.
Rolling blackouts were among the most “extreme” proposals, with less severe options including a voluntary incentive scheme for customers.
National Grid plans to launch a scheme in November that would award domestic and business customers with smart meters financial incentives to reduce power usage during peak hours.
The scheme would only apply if energy supplies became tight and aim to reduce demand by more than two gigawatts.
Extreme cold may force the UK to secure additional energy from other European countries, National Grid warned.
But the firm has stressed that officials have designed these plans to navigate worst-case scenarios.
Fintan Slye, the executive director of the National Grid subsidiary that oversees the UK’s electricity system, said these scenarios do not come with probabilities.
He said the firm is “cautiously confident” National Grid supplies can meet energy demands this winter.
While National Grid expects energy supplies to hold up, millions of Britons are uncertain about paying their bills.
Usage will increase, and while the Government’s energy price guarantee will hold annual costs at £2,500, it won’t last as long as hoped.
Liz Truss’ New Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has reduced the amount of time the Government’s energy scheme will apply to the whole country.
Instead of the intended two-year assistance, millions of people may lose eligibility by spring next year, leaving them at the mercy of Ofgem’s energy price cap.