Will the Lights Go out in 2015?

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The Government says Energy Minister Michael Fallon is “fully behind” a National Grid consultation that could see big businesses paid to cut their energy usage in times of shortage.

It followed a warning from energy regulator, Ofgem, that the risk of power cuts has increased in the UK. Ofgem also suggested keeping some mothballed power plants in reserve in case of emergencies. Despite that the Government has emphasised “the lights won’t go out.”

Businesses to lower use

Electricity network owner, National Grid, has suggested large consumers, such as big shops and factories, could be asked to lower their use between 4.00 p.m. and 8.00 p.m. on weekdays in the Winter. A spokesman said: “This does not mean that disruption is imminent or likely, but Ofgem and ourselves believe it appropriate to consider what measures could be taken in case margins deteriorate further. One option would be for companies to voluntarily enter into agreements to fire up currently mothballed power stations or for large users to reduce their demand, in return for which they would receive payment.”

UK may have just 2% spare electricity capacity

The latest Ofgem assessment has shown that the position is slightly worse than the previous assessment last year. Ofgem said spare electricity production capacity in the UK could fall to 2% by 2015, increasing the risk of blackouts.

The global financial crisis, tough emissions targets, the UK’s increasing dependency on gas imports and the closure of ageing power stations were all contributing to the heightened risk of shortages, Ofgem said.

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