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Unforeseen plant shutdowns have led National Grid to search for additional power, in order to ensure there is enough in reserve for the winter months in the UK. The supply network for Britain said that the move was a “sensible precaution” given how uncertain the outlook was for the forthcoming winter.

They are also trying to ascertain exactly how much more electricity energy suppliers could provide, should the shortfall turn out to be as bad as many people are expecting. Power plants across the country have shutdown unexpectedly and at present, no-one is quite sure when they will be resuming normal service. Reports today suggest that they have been shut down due to safety concerns and may not be back online until the turn of the year.

The energy supplier EDF has stated that there could be a staggered return to service between the end of next month and the end of the year. This means that a quarter of the UK’s nuclear power is currently out of action, having an inevitably negative effect of power supplies as we start to head out of the summer months.

Power Station Closures...

This news comes to the contrary of the grid’s assertion back in June, that no such supply boosts would be needed. However, incidents at Ironbridge and Ferrybridge as well as precautionary checks at Heysham and Hartlepool have changed the outlook completely and have effected energy suppliers such as E.ON, SSE and EDF.

Although last winter proved to be extremely mild and the UK actually ended up with a surplus of energy, there is no guarantee that it will be the same this year and any “big freeze” could plunge the nation into somewhat of a sticky situation. National Grid’s search for additional electricity should remedy this, but at present it has proven to be fruitless. A competitive tendering process could be the next move from the supply network.

No Guarantees...

The decision by National Grid has been supported by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and also the energy watchdog, Ofgem. They are both confident that National Grid will succeed in keeping the lights on in the UK this winter, but were keen to add that there is never a 100% guarantee that this will be the case in such cases.

There is separate programme running alongside this one from National Grid, whereby companies are paid to cut their energy use during the winter months, it is thought this will help to further prevent a blackout. Electricity generation in the UK is such as issue at present as many old plants are shutting down, making way for start-ups.

Love Energy Saving will continue to monitor the situation as well as any impact this may have on your electricity bills. To take a closer look at the energy industry, why not take a look at our guides section or explore the rest of our fantastic energy blog?

If you're unsure about any aspect of your home or business energy contract, just get in touch with the Love Energy Savings team.