Risks of winter blackouts in the UK

Article posted

7th Oct 2022

Read time

3-6 min read


Mollie Pinnington

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Ofgem, the energy regulator in the UK has issued a warning that Britain could be facing a significant risk of gas shortages this Winter. This is mainly due to supply emergency measures to help preserve stocks due to the impact of the Russian war with Ukraine, which has now cut off the main source of gas for the EU.

In the past PM Liz Truss has ruled out the idea of energy rationing, which could now have to be considered as winter blackouts become more of a threat.  This could mean that energy consumers could be asked to lower gas consumption or stop using gas for a temporary period.

Although the UK is in a good position given that they received very little gas supply from Russia in the first place, they could still see a knock-on effect on supplies.

Currently, talks between Ofgem and the ESO are just to make sure that there are sensible contingency plans in place and that the UK is fully prepped for anything that could happen over winter.

The UK’s electricity system is very reliant on gas to balance the peak through supply and demand. However, this is going to be problematic if the gas supply gets tight over winter. Therefore, as part of the contingency plan, there have also been talks about decoupling gas and electricity in the market to help bring down electricity prices.

The government has said that they are still not planning on telling the public to reduce energy usage. Others believe that energy rationing will help cut the huge bill for capping household and business energy prices, which is going to take billions of borrowings to cover.

Although the risks of blackouts and power outages are going to be minimised and hopefully offset by the ESO and government plans. However, it is always a good idea to have a plan in place in case your business does suffer power outages.


How to prepare if my business suffers a workplace power outage


Have a clear plan

It’s unlikely that your business will ever have to deal with a power outage, but if you do it’s best to have a clear plan of what your team needed to do in this event. Your plan should include firstly having a safe area for your employees and customers to go to. Then once everyone is safe you need somewhere you can call your local network operator to inform them of a cut.   

Ensure the safety of your employees and customers

A business’s main priority in the event of a power cut should be employee and customer safety. For example, you need to ensure customer security and that there are safe ways to get out of the building.   

Don’t operate any equipment you are not trained to operate.

If your electricity does go off the best thing to do is switch off electrical equipment to avoid them automatically coming back on. However, do not try and fix the issue your self and do not touch equipment you are not trained to fix, this could cause serious injury or more damage. The best thing to do is to get in touch with your distribution network operator to get your power back on.    

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