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UK faces targeted blackouts this winter as energy crisis bites

The UK could face targeted electricity blackouts over the winter in order to cope with the ongoing energy crisis, Bloomberg News has reported.

Under the government’s latest “reasonable worst-case scenario,” some industries and even households could have their electricity supplies temporarily suspended for several days.

The scenario has been updated due to concerns that the UK could face an energy shortfall amounting to up to a sixth of peak demand. For the plan to be instigated, a confluence of factors would need to occur simultaneously including below-average temperatures coupled with reduced electricity imports from Norway and France.

But it could see Britain exposed to four days in January when it may need to trigger emergency measures to conserve gas.

The UK has already delayed the closure of coal plants in order to bolster energy supplies, although ministers were warned in May that millions of UK households could still face blackouts despite the measures.

Ofgem also recently moved to updating the energy price cap quarterly, rather than every six months, which will see consumers face extremely high energy prices as soon as October which could help to encourage more measured use of energy.

Speaking to Bloomberg, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the scenario is “not something we expect to happen.”

“Households, businesses, and industry can be confident they will get the electricity and gas they need,” it added.

A report from the Electricity System Operator (ESO) in July anticipated that there would be some “tight periods” for energy supplies this winter which are most likely to occur in the first half of December.

This followed the reduction in gas supplies from Russian state-run energy firm Gazprom through its Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. This saw its capacity reduced to around 20 per cent of what was flowing before.

While Britain is not reliant on Russian gas to the extent that the rest of Europe is, “it is clear that the cessation of flows of gas into Europe could have knock-on impacts, including very high prices,” the ESO report said.

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