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The BBC has prepared a number of emergency scripts in the event of blackouts that could last up to two days this winter, The Guardian has reported, citing the documents.
One quote from a script reads “The government has said it’s hoped power will be restored in the next 36 to 48 hours. Different parts of Britain will start to receive intermittent supplies before then.”
Another warns the public that a blackout could last for up to 48 hours, putting extreme pressure on hospitals and the police. The load shedding would be done between 4 pm and 7 pm, normally peak demand hours.
The scripts, per The Guardian, are part of routine preparation for emergencies, since the BBC is effectively part of the UK government’s response team in such situations, in charge of spreading information about the events.
The threat of blackouts, however, is not as purely hypothetical as it might have been a couple of winters ago. Earlier this week, National Grid’s chief executive issued a warning for three-hour blackouts on “really, really cold” evenings in the first two months of next year.
In case there was no gas to import from Europe, John Pettigrew said, as quoted by the Financial Times, National Grid would need to resort to load-shedding during “those deepest darkest evenings in January and February”.
To reduce the risk of these blackouts, the utility advises a curb in energy consumption, just like the rest of Europe where EU leaders have been struggling to find a way to secure enough gas for this year’s heating season.
The latest from the Brussels camp was a Commission proposal to set a ceiling for the natural gas traded at the TTF hub but before that, it said, the EU would need to ensure the lower gas prices resulting from this move would not lead to an increase in consumption.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com