Government Doesn't "Expect" Energy Rationing And Power Cuts This Winter
Downing Street has said they don’t “expect” there to be energy rationing this winter after reports that six million households could face blackouts because of the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on power supplies.
On Monday The Times reported that the government’s “reasonable” worst-case scenario projects widespread gas shortages if Moscow goes further in cutting off supplies to the EU.
A minister told the newspaper that the briefing, which has been drawn up by officials from across Whitehall, suggested electricity could have to be rationed for millions of people at the start of next year, mostly at peaks in the morning and evening.
But Number 10 played down the suggestions. "I think you would expect Government to look at a range of scenarios to ensure plans are robust, no matter how unlikely they are to pass,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said.
"Neither the Government or National Grid expect power cuts this winter," they continued.
"We don't expect energy rationing this winter."
Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, has reportedly written to the country’s three remaining coal-fired power stations to ask their owners to keep them open for longer in case of supply issues from overseas energy.
While the UK buys less than 4% of its gas directly from Russia, Britain’s supply is connected to European markets, which are much more heavily reliant on it.
"We are in a fortunate position, we are not dependent on Russian energy imports and have one of the most reliable and diverse energy systems," the prime minister's spokesperson added.
They highlighted the UK's access to North Sea gas reserves and imports from "reliable partners", but did not categorically deny reporting that rationing had been discussed.
"I think you would expect us to plan for all scenarios," they added.
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