Well, it looks like the probability of power cuts this winter is even higher than I first imagined. The National Grid will shortly be applying to Ofgem for permission to reward customers who cut their historical energy usage by using less power between 5pm and 8pm each evening. The consumers will need to have a SMART meter and they will need to offset their usage to different times of the day when demand for electricity is less. For example, washing machines could be used in the early morning hours, cooking could be put back till after 8pm and the kids could be made to read books rather than using games consoles. Those not having a SMART meter will be excluded from the scheme.
Other countries, like Germany have opted for public service advertising and announcements to try to get citizens to use the shower for less time, not use air conditioning in public buildings and get used to streetlighting being dimmed at night, as well as other energy saving measures. The softly, softly approach taken by the National Grid is designed to not panic the public, but shows clearly that the UK could face periods without power this Winter unless action is taken. People are questioning the practicality of offering up to £6 a KWh rewards to customers, but, at peak time last Winter, Drax were charging £5,900 per MWh (£5.90 per KWh) to supply the grid with electric from their coal fired power stations. A spokesperson for the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s rejected reports that there will power blackouts this winter due to energy shortages. She said that households would make their own minds up about how much energy to use, adding: “People should be confident they will have the electricity and gas they need.” Time to buy some candles, I think.