closedownarrowexternal-linklogo-verticalmenu-barsearch Skip to main content

National Grid: Blackouts this winter are unlikely

National Grid chief dismisses fears of energy shortages over festive period and says energy demand will be dealt with

The National Grid has allayed fears of a balckout this winter

The National Grid has allayed fears of a balckout this winter

Nigel Williams, head of electricity systems at National Grid, has downplayed comments suggesting that Britain would face blackouts if new energy sources are not uncovered soon.

He added that any surge in demand for gas and electricity this winter would be manageable. Williams also said that recent warnings about Britain facing outages if new energy sources were not developed were blown out of proportion.

Should demand rise past a certain point this winter, the National Grid will simply reduce the frequency of the energy output, resulting in temporarily dimmer lights and weaker appliances.

‘Lights would dim a little and hairdryers would be a little less hot’

Speaking to the Guardian, Williams said: “We have always had periods when there is a bit of a crunch and we have managed that.

“People talk about winters of discontent and blackouts, but what we are talking about in the worst-case scenario is a few half-hour periods a year.

“It’s most likely we’d reduce the frequency a bit, so lights would dim a little and hairdryers would be a little less hot. Most people would not notice.”

The nation’s favourite TV programmes

The people who work on the National Grid are able to see how certain events affect energy consumption across the UK.

Williams explained that for the most part, behaviour during Christmas is fairly predictable.

“You get exactly the same curve on Christmas day, year after year after year,” he said.

Previously there would be a surge in energy use during the Queen’s speech, but this is no longer the case and programmes such as ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ attract the most viewers.

Jeremy Caplin, the National Grid’s energy forecasting manager, explained that the most difficult moment of 2013 to date, came during Andy Murray’s three hour long Wimbledon tennis match.

“It’s impossible to predict how many sets the match would go to or when it was going to end,” he recalled.

Read more

Energy and rent overtake all other spending for the first time

Employees set companies back £300m on energy costs