power outage blackout

National Grid calls off emergency plan to prevent imminent blackouts

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National Grid has narrowly decided not to run a new energy conserving initiative tomorrow that would see households being paid to reduce their electricity at times of tight electricity supplies.

Earlier today (Monday), National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) said it was considering activating the Demand Flexibility Service for the first time in order to prevent blackouts on the UK grid.

Fears were stoked that energy supplies this evening and tomorrow evening would not be enough to satisfy demand, due to a combination of factors including insufficient nuclear power coming from a French interconnector and low ambient temperatures.

“Even though wind is coming back for tomorrow evening’s peak, slow return of nukes in France plus lower temperatures may mean that there is a reduction in available imports across the interconnectors,” according to consultancy service EnergyAppSys.

Ofgem approved the ESO’s calls to implement the Demand Flexibility Service earlier this month as energy supplies are expected to remain tight this winter in the wake of political tensions with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

For the first time, it would see businesses and householders being paid to reduce their electricity use during peak hours following a signal from the ESO.

Demonstration events for the service were run earlier in November to ensure that providers are ready and able to participate from the first day of the service.

At around 1.30pm, a Capacity Market Notice was issued with warnings of tight grid supplies at 6pm. The alerts are sent out automatically when expected margins drop below a certain level, but the ESO ultimately cancelled the notice half an hour later.

In the last six years, 11 such notices have been issued, although they have all been cancelled before action needed to be taken.

In October, National Grid warned that homes could face three-hour rolling power cuts this winter if the country is unable to secure enough gas and electricity imports.

But in an effort to calm fears over energy supplies, former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said that such measures would be “extremely unlikely”.

E.ON, Britain’s second-largest supplier, recently said that Britons have already cut their gas and electricity use by more than 10 per cent since October in the first evidence of the impact of the energy crisis on household habits.

But analysts have also said that unseasonably mild weather over the last two months has made analysing consumer behaviour more difficult.

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