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The National Grid chief has warned that households may be forced to endure blackouts over the winter if gas imports are reduced. John Pettigrew has said these blackouts may take place between 4pm and 7pm on “really, really cold” days in January and February.
However, it is hoped this would be a worst case scenario and only imposed if electricity generators did not have enough gas to meet demand.
Earlier this month the National Grid put the country on notice that the chance of blackouts had increased and that three-hour power shortages might be necessary in the “unlikely” event of gas supplies failing to meet demand.
This is the first time the electricity and gas operator has given an exact time as to when the blackouts would be.
Britain gets 40 percent of its electricity from gas-fired power stations while gas heats the vast majority of homes, reported Sky News.
While Britain does not rely directly on Russia for its gas, it does import supplies from other countries in Europe that do.
A number of measures have been planned to try and reduce the chances of blackouts, including placing coal-fired power stations on standby instead of retiring them as previously planned.
The Government is also considering a demand flexibility service, with consumers being rewarded for not using power during peak times.
Households can sign up for the service with their energy supplier and will run from November to March.
In return for not charging your electric car or running dishwashers, tumble driers or washing machines during times of peak energy use during the day, customers will receive financial compensation.
If adequate gas supplies cannot be guaranteed, a Gas Supply Emergency can be declared.
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This means some customers, starting with the largest industrial businesses, will be asked to stop using gas temporarily.
The National Grid said: “In the unlikely event there is insufficient gas supply available in GB to meet demand, and should the market be unable to resolve the resultant imbalance, we have the tools required to ensure the safety and integrity of the gas system in the event of a Gas Supply Emergency.
“All possible measures would be taken to minimise the extent to which we use these tools.”
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