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28th Nov 2022

National Grid set to announce blackout plan which will see power turned off

Steve Hopkins

It could come into effect as early as tomorrow

Households could receive payment to switch off their power to ease pressure on the UK’s grid operator – preventing the need for blackouts Tuesday evening when England take on Wales.

The National Grid’s electricity systems operator division has said that it is considering whether to start up the demand flexibility service Tuesday evening because of pressure on the French energy grid

A decision is due around 2:30pm on Monday.

A spokesperson for the National Grid ESO said: “What has happened is that the ESO has issued an indicative notice on BMRS to alert demand flexibility service providers that we may issue a requirement at 2:30pm for the use of DFS tomorrow night.

“We’re still assessing what requirement we might need, so it’s still possible that we will issue a requirement for 0MW at 2:30pm that will stand down the use of the DFS tomorrow night.”

If approved, it will be the first time a demand flexibility service has been run as a live event, having only been tested a few times previously. It was last tested on the 15 and 22 November.

National Grid ESO has revealed the next Demand Flexibility Test scheduled for 22 November between 17:30 and 18:30. This is set to be the second trial for the ESO’s demand flexibility service with the first test having been performed on 15 November between 17:00 and 18:00. Much like the first test, the second calls for a flexibility requirement of 200MW.

The National Grid spokesperson continued: “We do have quite a diverse energy provision. Offshore wind continues to provide a huge amount of our energy, particularly during the winter months, “While we are preparing for all eventualities, we are confident that we will continue to have good provision throughout the winter months.”

The government has previously said it is “preparing for all eventualities”, but have not discussed the potential for power blackouts to occur.

Last month, the National Grid chief executive John Pettigrew said that blackouts could be necessary if the UK cannot secure enough gas from mainland Europe to meet demand, but tempered the comments by saying that it was “unlikely”.

“In the context of the terrible things that are going on in the Ukraine and the consequences of that [it was] right that we set out what some of the potential risks could be.”

He added that a “huge amount” of work was being done to avoid blackouts that could be devastating for elderly and vulnerable Brits.

Pettigrew said the worst case scenario would see power switched off between 4pm and 7pm on weekdays “when it’s really, really cold in January and February”.

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