By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 07 October 2022 • 7:22
Coal-fired power plant - Image Orxy / Shutterstock.com
It is understood that the business secretary had backed a £15m (€17.09 million) campaign this winter in an effort to stave off power blackouts by encouraging users to save electricity. Number 10 is said to have blocked the idea which involved a light touch and measures designed to help people save as much as £300 (€341) a year on their electricity bills.
The campaign included advice for people including lowering the temperatures of boilers, turning off radiators in empty rooms and turning the lights off in rooms not being used.
A government source described the campaign as a “no brainer” and said “number 10 had made a stupid decision.” They added that Truss is ideologically opposed to an interventionist approach.
A statement issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the government was not launching a campaign and “any claim otherwise is untrue.”
The story follows earlier attempts by Truss to downplay concerns of blackouts although she stopped short of a guaranteee.
The National Grid’s Electricity System Operator (ESO) said on Thursday, October 6 that the possibility of gas shortages had risen markedly in recent days.
As a result, ESO said that they have developed contingency plans should gas shortages become a reality, which would entail rolling blackouts. These would involve controlled three-hour blackouts in areas where no damage would be caused as a result.
The measure was revealed in an update on the UK’s state of energy readiness for winter.
ESO said that it needed the public’s help to stave off the eventuality of blackouts by using energy sparingly. It said if everyone were to reduce their energy use the possibility of blackouts would fall.
Households have also been asked to sign up to an energy-saving scheme through their supplier, which will see bill-payers paid to save energy during peak hours.
To try and reduce the possibility of blackouts coal-fired power stations will continue to be run despite being due for closure. The operators of these stations are being paid to maintain supply for at least 600,000 homes.
Gas consumption is expected to rise by around 22 per cent over the winter with new suppliers having to be found as a result of the war in Ukraine. Some of the shortfall is, however, due to a number of France’s nuclear generators being offline for maintenance.
Currently around 40 per cent of the power generated in the UK comes from gas.
An Ofgem spokesperson told Sky News: “We have one of the most reliable energy systems in the world and we are in a favourable position.
“However, it is incumbent on a responsible and prudent energy sector to ensure the right contingency measures are in place, which is why we are working with the government, National Grid and key partners to protect consumers, so that Great Britain is fully prepared for any challenges this winter.”
Preventing the power blackouts planned for the UK will need everyone to chip in and save as much electricity as they can during peak hours.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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