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Brits warned to prepare for power cuts, blackouts on ‘really, really cold’ evenings

A wind turbine and an electricity pylon are seen in Finedon, Britain. (File photo by Reuters)

The chief executive of the UK’s national grid has warned British households to prepare for a “worst-case scenario” of power cuts and blackouts on “really, really cold” weekdays in winter.

The head of the National Grid ESO, John Pettigrew, said that the company would have to impose rolling power cuts on “those deepest darkest evenings in January and February.”

It will be happening “probably between 4pm and 7pm in the evenings on those weekdays when it’s really, really cold,” he added.

Pettigrew said if the weather turns extremely cold and if gas supplies to feed power stations are insufficient, the company will have to switch off gas and electricity in parts of the country.

Pettigrew emphasized that he was talking about a “worst-case” scenario linked to the energy crisis in continental Europe.

He said that “in the context of the terrible things that are going on in Ukraine,” the company needs to assess the “potential risks.”

According to the National Grid’s strategy, set to come into force on November 1, in case there are no electricity imports from continental Europe, the company will deploy its “mitigation strategies,” including dispatching “the retained coal units.”

European countries are facing a severe energy crisis caused by a sharp decrease in Russian energy supplies.

In a “more extreme scenario,” involving “a hypothetical escalation of the energy crisis in Europe” and a deficit in gas, as well as in electricity supplies, the National Grid admits that there might be “interruptions to customers for periods.”

Any plans for scheduled power cuts in the UK must be approved by the British government and the monarch.

Last week, the head of Russian energy giant Gazprom, Alexey Miller, said that Europe would survive this winter but the winters of 2023 and 2024 would demonstrate that the energy crisis “has not come for a short period of time and the causes of the energy crisis are systemic.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier likened the EU’s attempts to cut itself off of Russian fossil fuels to economic “suicide.”

The European energy crisis comes as tensions persist between Russia and the West over Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.

Natural gas prices have soared in Europe to all-time highs since the West began unleashing waves of sanctions against Moscow and Russia’s Gazprom drastically reduced its gas deliveries to Europe.

Back in March, the Russian government barred the firm from gas deliveries to foreign buyers who fail to pay in time.

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