Britain could face three-hour power outages this winter, National Grid warns

  • Some customers may be without power for predefined periods
  • Utility says outages could be in three-hour blocks
  • Any gas shortage in Europe could impact the UK
  • Countries across Europe are making winter contingency plans
  • The British government says it is confident in its ability to provide food in winter

LONDON, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Britain could face planned three-hour power cuts to homes and businesses this winter if it cannot import power from Europe and struggles to attract enough gas imports to power gas-fired power stations, the National Grid warned on Thursday.

The prospect of power cuts comes as Prime Minister Liz Truss on Thursday called on Europe to keep energy exports going through the winter, and is expected to put further pressure on the government after previously ruling out rationing of energy. energy in Britain. Read more

Countries across Europe are drawing up winter contingency plans against the disruption of gas flows from Russia due to the war in Ukraine, which could lead to rationing and limits on energy exports to other countries. other countries.

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A gas shortage in Europe, as well as maintenance problems with several French nuclear power plants, have increased the risk that Britain will not be able to guarantee the gas it needs or the electricity imports it needs. usually receives from countries like France, Belgium and the Netherlands. .

“In the unlikely event that we find ourselves in this situation, it would mean that some customers could be without power for predefined periods during a day – generally this is assumed to be for blocks of three hours,” said the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) said in its Winter Outlook.

The British government said in response that it was confident of securing electricity supplies for the winter.

“The UK has a secure and diverse energy system. We are confident in our plans to protect households and businesses in all scenarios this winter,” a government spokesperson said.

“To further strengthen this position, we have plans in place to secure supply,” the spokesperson added, highlighting UK gas reserves in the North Sea, imports from partners such as Norway and sources of supply. clean energy.

A separate risk assessment by the UK government released on Thursday showed its security of gas supply met the standards required by law.

Its analysis indicates that the infrastructure could meet gas demand under all scenarios, including “a combination of exceptional demand caused by extreme weather conditions and the failure of the largest infrastructure in the gas network”.

“REINFORCED IMPACTS”

Russia has cut its gas supplies to Europe this year and while Russia covers only around 4% of Britain’s gas needs, a supply disruption in Europe has helped push up prices. British prices and makes it harder for Britain to get gas from others. Read more

“The potential for a shortage of gas supply in mainland Europe could have a series of ripple impacts in Britain, creating risks around Britain’s ability to import from mainland Europe,” National Grid’s gas transmission arm (NGGT) said in a statement. Separate Gas Winter Outlook.

The gas outlook indicates that Britain’s ability to secure supply will depend on whether its gas prices are high enough to continue to attract exports from Europe and liquefied natural gas (LNG) from countries such as Qatar and the United States.

“In the unlikely event that the gas supply available in Britain is insufficient to meet demand…We have the tools to ensure the safety and integrity of the gas system in the event of an emergency. gas supply,” NGGT said.

Initially, these tools include sending market notices to try to get more gas into the system or to get large gas users to reduce demand.

If a lack of gas forced Britain to limit its supplies, households would take priority and the brakes would fall first on large industrial users and power stations.

National Grid ESO and NGGT said they expected to be able to meet electricity and gas demand this winter, but the unprecedented and uncertain situation in Europe had led them to consider a range of scenarios.

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Reporting by Susanna Twidale, additional reporting by Sachin Ravikumar Editing by Bernadette Baum and Raissa Kasolowsky

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