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UK Extends Power Saving Incentives But Is Playing Down Risk Of Blackouts

National Grid has extended plans for households to be offered discounts for cutting their energy usage – activating its demand flexibility service for a second day in a row.

Customers with smart meters will be eligible for reductions in their energy bills if they save energy between 4.30pm and 6pm when demand is at its peak.

National Grid’s electricity system operator (NGESO) argued the scheme was part of “cautious measures” to ensure the UK has “adequate operational reserves tomorrow,” but played down the possibility of a supply crunch that could lead to blackouts.

A spokesperson said: “We have taken this decision as we currently see a similar operational picture to the one available on Sunday. The use of these additional services is not an indication that electricity supplies are at risk, but that we require greater options to manage the network as normal.”

This follows National Grid offering discounts yesterday between 5pm and 6pm to over a million households to maintain the networks operating margins for energy supplies.

It notified energy suppliers on Monday it needed to find savings of 659MW to maintain its preferred energy security margins.

NGESO has also requested the warming of three of the UK five remaining coal units for availability, in case they are needed to boost energy supplies.

The units have been left on standby this winter, postponing their closure dates, after National Grid agreed winter contingency contracts with owners Drax, EDF and Uniper on behalf of the government.

It also called for the coal power plants to be warmed up yesterday, before later cancelling the request.

The UK is highly dependent on gas to meet its energy needs amid a cold snap this winter (source: grid.iamkate.com)

Despite a Russian supply squeeze and increasingly cold winter weather, National Grid has managed to stave off blackouts so far, including its worst-case scenario in its winter outlook published last year of rolling power cuts in January.

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However, it did trigger and row back early-stage emergency measures on two separate occasions in November.

As it stands, the UK is relying on fossil fuels to meet 59 percent of its consumption needs today – with renewable generation dropping in the colder weather to 15 percent of the domestic energy mix.

By CityAM

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