We’re A-OK for winter gas – but power is a problem says National Grid

A heightened risk of blackouts is on the horizon this winter with power margins looking particularly tight, according to National Grid’s annual report. The grid operator’s Winter Outlook published today […]

By Vicky Ellis

A heightened risk of blackouts is on the horizon this winter with power margins looking particularly tight, according to National Grid’s annual report.

The grid operator’s Winter Outlook published today described the UK’s gas supply position as “strong” but it’s a bleaker picture for power.

It has three power plants on standby for emergencies, under a scheme called Supplemental Balancing Reserve (SBR): Littlebrook, Rye House CCGT and Peterhead CCGT plants.

National Grid blamed the crunch on surprise breakdowns at power plants at the same time as planned plant closures, while new plant haven’t come online as quickly to replace them.

Cordi O’Hara, Director of Market Operation admitted: “The electricity margin has decreased compared to recent years”.

But she added: “The outlook remains manageable and well within the reliability standard set by Government.”

Gas looks more comfortable, she said: “Our analysis shows gas supplies to be in a strong position. Supply sources are diverse, network capacity is healthy and gas storage is well stocked.”