UK winter blackouts: Here's how it may affect you and what you should do if it happens

If you live in the UK, the National Grid says in the worst-case scenario this winter you might face pre-planned three-hour-long power outages. Here are some tips and tricks to get by if it gets to that.

The Potential Power Cuts in the UK, here is how to stay ahead
© Enrique Micaelo Sanchez / EyeEm
The Potential Power Cuts in the UK, here is how to stay ahead

According to BBC, the UK National Grid says power outages are not likely this winter, however, a worst-case scenario is that blackouts will remaina possibility, if gas supplies run extremely low and if the energy crisis escalates.

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Incentivising savings

BBC also reports about the impending incentives that will come into force by the National Grid from 1 November, that aim for incentivising savings at key usage times.

There are two-fold measures in this regard, households that are equipped with smart meters could be offered payments for cutting usage at peak hours, raking in an estimated £10 per day, such as for avoiding the use of the washing machine or the oven.

Likewise, larger businesses will be rewarded for lowering their demand by altering their times of energy use but also by relying on batteries or generators in peak times, BBC reports.

Managing the blackouts

Under a worst-case scenario, different parts of the country would be affected by the blackouts depending on which area does not receive imported energy supplies. In this case, the National Grid would rotate the blackouts so that the distribution of the power outage would not affect a large part of the country at the same time.

The Potential Power Cuts in the UK, here is how to stay ahead Jenny Dettrick

Customers would be notified at least a day before the planned outage, including information campaigns alike Covid-19-style press conferences.

According to the BBC, hospitals and ‘priority businesses’ would be protected from the cuts, yet the Energy Networks Association (ENA) said vulnerable individuals would not necessarily be protected.

What to do in case of a black out

Consumers are being recommended to find and save the contact information of their electricity network operator and to inform them when a blackout occurs so that they can confirm it is part of a pre-planned outage and provide updates in real time. There is a free tool to do so, provided by ENA.

If a power blackout occurs, ENA also recommends turning off all electric appliances which should not be left unattended when the electricity returns. Considering it is going to be winter, it is also advised to close doors and lock in the heat inside your home.

At the same time, ENA suggests inquiring about additional services from your energy supplier, which is likely to offer a free priority servicemembershipthat can go as far as keeping you informed about outages, providing alternative heating and cooking facilities, and possibly alternative accommodation.

Depending on the type and length of the reductions in your electricity supply, you could be eligible for compensation, you can learn more about this on the Ofgem website.

Sources used:

-BBC: ‘Homes face winter power cuts in worst-case scenario, says National Grid’

-Energy Networks Association: ‘What to do during a power cut’

-Energy Networks Association: ‘Who’s my network operator?’

-EnergyNetworks Association: ‘Getting extra help from your energy network operator’

-Ofgem: ‘Get compensation for a supply issue’

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