UK News: UK could face days of blackouts this winter under emergency energy plan

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Millions of families face a January blackout under ‘worst-case scenario’ government plans (Picture: Getty) © Provided by Metro Millions of families face a January blackout under ‘worst-case scenario’ government plans (Picture: Getty)

Britain is being warned to brace for almost a week of home blackouts this winter amid the nation’s spiralling energy crisis.

Four days of residential power cuts are included in a government plan to cope with a worst-case electric and gas supply scenario, it was revealed today.

Millions of families could be hit with the emergency measure in January if a perfect storm of shortages and huge demand puts too much strain on energy networks.

Food firms have also been asked to prepare plans to avoid empty shelves, while NHS bosses must ensure ‘diesel tanks are full’.

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The reported blackouts would come at the same time energy bills are expected to surge past £4,000 as the price cap set by regulator Ofgem more than doubles.

A bleak new forecast by power consultancy Cornwall Insight predicts this will rise even further in April as bills surge to £4,400.

Consumer campaigners including Martin Lewis are now piling pressure on ministers to better protect the vulnerable and low-income households from bankruptcy-inducing bills.

The government insists it has sufficient reserves to avoid blackouts, which it says will likely never happen.

Ed Miliband said power cuts would be ‘catastrophic’ for Britain (Picture: PA) © Provided by Metro Ed Miliband said power cuts would be ‘catastrophic’ for Britain (Picture: PA)

Under its latest ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ Britain would be struck by a serious electricity shortfall even after back-up coal plants are activated.

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It models what would happen if freezing weather combined with reduced power being piped from Norway and France, Bloomberg reports.

A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesman said the reports were ‘wilfully misleading and not something we expect to happen’.

They added: ‘We are not dependent on Russian energy imports, unlike Europe, with access to our own North Sea gas reserves, steady imports from reliable partners, the second largest LNG port infrastructure in Europe, and a gas supply underpinned by robust legal contracts, meaning households, businesses and industry can be confident they will get the electricity and gas they need.’

Global energy prices have rocketed due to countries weaning off Russian oil and gas following Vladimir Putin’s bombardment of Ukraine.

While the UK has little dependence on Russian imports, North Sea supplies from Norway are critical.

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Fears of energy shortages were fuelled this week as the Scandinavian country threatened to ration electricity supplies.

It announced new rules limiting the sale of power to foreign countries due to heat waves hitting its hydroelectric power output.

A National Grid spokesperson said the company would update its winter forecasts to ensure they are as ‘robust as possible’ in autumn.

They added: ‘We have published an early view of winter outlook to help the industry prepare for this winter.’

Ed Miliband, shadow secretary of state for climate and net zero, said: ‘Whilst the Tories squabble over tax cuts, Britain is now readying itself for catastrophic power cuts this winter.

‘This is a complete disgrace to a British public already struggling at the hands of an absent government that has left our economy in tatters.

‘What we are faced with is the result of 12 years of Tory government which has failed to prepare and refused to invest, leaving bills higher and our country less secure.’

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