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London Banks Prepare For Possible Blackouts

Banking and financial firms in London are closely studying and updating contingency electricity supply plans to protect themselves and their customers in case power outages hit the UK this winter.

Some banks are discussing the idea of again encouraging the work-from-home policies from previous Covid lockdowns or using offsite locations, representatives of the trade association UK Finance, coordinating the talks, told Bloomberg.

The UK and the rest of Europe are preparing for potential blackouts this winter, especially if the weather is colder than usual and gas and power shortages strain the grids. Governments in Europe are asking people to conserve energy to avoid rolling outages.  

In the City of London, banks are paying closer attention to plans for backup power supply in case of blackouts.

“There is no sense of panic, just everyone is making sure that their ducks are in a row,” Andrew Rogan, director of operational resilience at UK Finance, told Bloomberg in an interview. 

This summer, London narrowly avoided a blackout in the eastern part of the city at the end of July. While London and much of the UK were reeling from the hottest day on record in Britain, high power demand and a bottleneck on the grid left parts of East London close to blackout. The UK, however, managed to avoid a blackout in London by buying more electricity from Belgium at a mind-blowing price of $11,812 (£9,724) per megawatt-hour (MWh), which was more than 5,000% higher than the typical price.

Outside the UK, banks across Europe are bracing for energy rationing and possible power outages this winter by getting backup generators ready so that they won’t leave bank transactions and ATMs in the dark if the energy crisis worsens, sources familiar with plans told Reuters earlier this month. As governments in Europe appeal for voluntary gas and electricity conservation and even consider rationing, banks are also bracing for a difficult winter. The banking system is too important for Europe and its economy to be left affected by power outages.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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