National Grid cancels contingency plan to prevent imminent blackouts

National Grid has decided not to launch a new energy-savings initiative tomorrow that would see households being paid to reduce their electricity during times of poor electricity supplies.

Today (Monday), the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) said it was considering activating its demand flexibility service for the first time in order to prevent blackouts on the UK grid.

There were fears that tonight’s and tomorrow’s energy supplies would not be sufficient to meet demand, due to a combination of factors including insufficient nuclear power from a French interconnector and low ambient temperatures.

“Even if the wind returns for tomorrow night’s peak, the slow return of nuclear weapons to France and lower temperatures could mean a reduction in imports available through the interconnectors,” according to consultancy EnergyAppSys.

Ofgem approved requests from ESO to roll out the demand flexibility service earlier this month as energy supplies are expected to remain scarce this winter in the wake of political tensions with Russia following its invasion of the Ukraine.

For the first time, businesses and households would be paid to reduce their electricity use during peak hours following a signal from ESO.

Demonstration events for the service were held in early November to ensure suppliers were ready and able to participate from day one of the service.

A capacity market advisory was issued at around 1.30pm with reduced network supply advisories at 6.00pm. Alerts are sent automatically when predicted margins fall below a certain level, but ESO ultimately canceled the alert half an hour later.

Over the past six years, 11 such notices have been issued, although they were all canceled before action had to be taken.

In October, National Grid warned that homes could experience three-hour power outages this winter if the country is unable to secure enough gas and electricity imports.

But in a bid to allay fears about energy supplies, former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said such measures would be “extremely unlikely”.

E.ON, Britain’s second-largest supplier, recently said Britons have already reduced their gas and electricity use by more than 10% since October in the first evidence of the impact of the energy crisis on household habits.

But analysts also said the unusually mild weather over the past two months made analyzing consumer behavior more difficult.

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