The head of Britain’s electricity and gas systems has told households to prepare for blackouts between 4pm and 7pm on weekdays during “really, really cold” days in January and February, this of course is a worse case scenarioif gas imports are reduced as a knock-on effect from the situation in Europe. While numerous measures are planned to avoid blackouts, the fact is that Britain imports their electricity and gas from European countries that rely on Russian gas.
Due to Russia’s war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russian gas imports, many European countries are facing gas shortages. A large amount of electricity is generated from gas, putting strain on national electricity supplies as demand increases in the face of cold weather. Britain gets 40% of its electricity from gas-fired power stations while gas heats the vast majority of homes.
John Pettigrew, the National Grid chief, said at the Financial Times’s Energy Transition Summit on Monday that blackouts would have to be imposed during the “deepest darkest evenings” in January and February if electricity generators found themselves without enough gas to meet demand, especially if there is a period of cold weather.
Earlier this month, the National Grid had put the country on notice that the chances of gas shortages in winter have risen and that planned three-hour power blackouts could be imposed in some areas, in the “unlikely” event supplies of gas fall short of demand. This is the first time since the warning that there has been explicit discussion of what time blackouts may take place.
MoneyMagpie has some tips for preparing for blackouts that may occur: things you can do now.
Jasmine Birtles says, “I’ve been expecting power cuts for the last few years so I’ve gradually put together a ‘just in case’ collection to get me through, including:
- Boxes of matches
- A Calor gas cooking ring (the sort you would use when camping)
- Battery-powered torch plus batteries
- A solar-powered battery pack that will run my computer, mobile and even the microwave if needed
- Large candles
My feeling is that even if we don’t have power cuts this year or next year, these are all things that I can use anyway, particularly if I go on a camping or caravanning holiday (which I’m likely to do). I recommend that everyone gets themselves ready just in case the power goes out because it’s pretty miserable to be cold and dark and not even to be able to make a hot drink to keep yourself warm or to be able to play around on the computer to keep yourself entertained.”