The National Grid has warned households and businesses in the UK about the potential three-hour power cuts that could start this Winter due to the energy crisis and gas shortages. But what does this mean for homes and businesses and how can you plan for no power?

The National Grid has warned that British households and businesses could potentially lose power for up to three hours at a time this winter if gas supplies run extremely low.

These cuts are an ‘unlikely’ scenario, but National Grid has added that supply interruptions are a possibility if the energy crisis escalates. This plan would involve cutting off power throughout the country in an effort to reduce the total consumption by 5%. 

Any cuts would occur at peak times, either in the morning or more likely between 4pm and 9pm, though customers would be warned beforehand, should a power cut need to be implemented.

The power outages are expected to be rotated so that not all sections of the country are affected at the same time. However, National Grid expects homes and businesses will face no problems as a ‘base case’.

Three Possible Scenarios this Winter

The National Grid’s primary belief remains that there will be enough energy to provide Britain with electricity levels comparable to recent winters. However, it has highlighted two more concerning possibilities which could occur.

In the first case, the European energy crisis would prevent Britain from importing electricity from France, Belgium, or the Netherlands. However, power will continue to flow from Norway.

The National Grid cautioned that, without any action, this situation could lead to electricity shortages. They did, however, state that they had reached agreements with three power firms – EDF, Drax, and Uniper – to keep additional coal-fired power generators on standby in case they were required.

What Does This Mean for Homes and Businesses?

Whilst these power cuts are only a possibility for now, the National Grid will introduce a system on November 1st that will incentivise businesses and the public to limit their electricity consumption at critical peak times during the day.

Households with smart meters could be paid to reduce their usage. For example, by not using their washing machine or oven early in the evening, households could receive up to £10 per day.

Larger enterprises could be compensated for reducing demand, such as altering their energy use periods or switching to batteries or generators during peak times.

The National Grid believe that with these procedures in place, supply disruptions will be averted. However, they stated that they had created a second, more extreme scenario in which Europe’s energy crisis worsens, resulting in a lack of gas in the UK.

In such cases, distributors would be required to switch off energy to homes and businesses for up to three hours during the day, according to the report. The legislation, which has not been used since the 1970s, would require the agreement of both the administration and the King.

“In the unlikely event we were in this situation, it would mean that some customers could be without power for pre-defined periods during a day – generally this is assumed to be for three-hour blocks,” said National Grid.

The number of people without power will be determined by how many power stations are forced to close due to a gas shortage, according to the report.

The cuts would not affect hospitals or ‘priority businesses’. The Energy Networks Association, on the other hand, stated that vulnerable individuals would not necessarily be safeguarded.

National Grid stated that the industry would collaborate with the government to educate the public about such measures, including through Covid-style press briefings.

Prepare your Business for Power Cuts

At Shenton Group, we provide commercial clients with an array of backup power solutions, from permanent on-site generators to temporary solutions such as generator rental. If you are concerned about how the potential mains outages could affect your key operating times, get in touch to discuss your backup power options.

If you would like more information on how to prepare your business for power outages, you can also visit our news post on Winter Power Outages: Rent a Generator in Advance!

Speak to the UK’s Leading Technical Experts today to rent a generator or discuss how you can protect your business from power disruptions this winter!

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