Britain could face power cuts at homes and businesses this winter if it fails to import electricity from Europe and draw enough gas to power its gas-fired power stations, Britain's National Grid has warned.
Gas shortages in Europe, as well as maintenance problems with several French nuclear power plants, have raised the risk that Britain could not secure the gas it needs or import the electricity it normally gets from countries such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Fintan Slye, the executive director of National Grid ESO, said: “Under our base case, as set out in the winter outlook, we are cautiously confident that there will be adequate margins through the winter period.
“As an expert and responsible operator of Great Britain’s electricity system it is incumbent on us to also factor in external factors and risks beyond our control like the unprecedented turmoil and volatility in energy markets in Europe and beyond.”
As a first step, those tools include sending notices to the market to try to get more gas into the system or force large gas customers to reduce demand.
Both National Grid ESO and NGGT have said they expect to meet electricity and gas demand this winter, but the unprecedented and uncertain situation in Europe has led them to consider a number of scenarios.