UK's secret plan for winter: Brits face four-day blackout under emergency energy measures

9 August 2022, 21:42

A blackout could be introduced in January
A blackout could be introduced in January. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The UK is planning several days of organised energy blackouts this winter for big industries - and possibly even households.

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A perfect storm of cold weather and gas shortages could lead to a four-day blackout in January for big industries that heavily rely on energy - potentially expanding to households too.

Under the government's 'reasonable worst-case scenario' plans, Brits could face an electricity shortfall of around a sixth of demand, according to Bloomberg.

It means even with other back-ups in place - such as several coal plants being fired up - emergency measures may need to be triggered in order to conserve gas.

However, the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said in a statement that the scenario is "not something we expect to happen".

They added: "Households, businesses and industry can be confident they will get the electricity and gas they need."

It comes as fresh forecasts from Cornwall Insight have suggested energy bills will soar even further than first anticipated, reaching £4,200 this winter.

Read more: Energy bills set to rise to staggering £4,200 this winter as Brits grapple with cost of living crisis

Read more: Brits to face energy bill rises every three months as Ofgem changes price cap updates

Bloomberg reporter Alex Wickham speaks to LBC's Ben Kentish

Speaking to LBC, Bloomberg's Alex Wickham explained: "This is reasonable worst-case scenario - it's not what the government expects to happen, it's not what the government hopes will happen, but it's what the government is planning for as a contingency.

"Over a short period of time in January - four days, the government thinks - it is possible that there are energy shortages that see demand for energy surpass the capacity that Britain has.

"What that could lead to is a short period of time where the government organises blackouts for big industries that are very energy intensive or, in an absolute worst-case scenario, households."

He added: "What the government's saying is that, if everything progresses as it should - and as they hope - over the next few months between now and January, there won't be any shortages and there won't be any blackouts.

"But if things start to go wrong - and clearly they have gone wrong over the last year with Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the fallout of the pandemic - things are pretty tight and there is not much capacity for the British state to deal with."