UPDATE: Wind saves the day as tomorrow’s blackout called off

UK blackout prevention plan may be used for the first time Tuesday

Blackout - Credit Geralt / Pixabay

19:03 (November 28) – The National Grid electricity control centre has said a return of wind tomorrow means that no blackout is planned.

Earlier today the organisation warned that a blackout might be necessary as power peaks at a time when there is a shortfall of supply from France. 

France’s nuclear power stations are said to be coming back online slowly and are expected to be able to increase supply to the UK in time for tomorrow night’s peak demand, which coupled with the wind is enough to cancel any plans for a blackout.

15:00 (November 28) – The UK’s blackout prevention plan may be used for the first time on Tuesday evening with householders who agreed to be part of the scheme.

According to Sky News on Monday, November 28, households taking part in the scheme will be rewarded for not using their power-intensive products during peak shortage periods.

The Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) is the National Grid’s plan for avoiding blackouts by encouraging householders to use less electricity when a shortage arises. The system has been tested twice so far.

A decision is due to be taken at 2:30 PM as to whether the plan will be used for the first time.

Under the scheme householders are rewarded for turning off heavy usage items like dishwashers, stoves, tumble dryers and other energy hungry appliances.

Ordinarily the UK relies on France’s nuclear power industry to cover the shortfall over winter, however, EDF who own and operate the reactors have advised that many of these are undergoing essential maintenance or have been shut down due to technical issues.

On top of that Europe is suffering an energy crisis that has left many countries within insufficient power generation to fulfil their total needs over the winter. Much of that problem has arisen due to the structure of Europe’s energy generation industry which relies heavily on gas supplied from Russia.

Previous tests have seen good results with Octopus Energy, whose customers are the most active in the scheme, saying that up to 100 megawatts can be saved through the DFS. The National Grid is, however, not totally reliant on the DFS to keep crucial industry operating with plans having identified industries that could be asked to shut down.

Three-hour rolling blackouts could also be implemented in areas if needed, although the National Grid does not think it is likely this will become necessary. The UK’s readiness plan suggests that there is sufficient supply with North Sea gas supplies and ship imports making up the shortfall.

Implementing the UK’s blackout prevention plan will provide a good indication in a live situation of how robust the system is and whether changes will be necessary in the longer run.   

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

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. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.