Alison Hammond discusses potential blackouts
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Last week, the National Grid chief told UK households to prepare for blackouts between 4pm and 7pm on weekdays during “really, really cold” spells throughout January and February should gas imports be reduced. Earlier this month, the National Grid also warned Britons that the chances of gas shortages throughout the winter have risen, and therefore three-hour power blackouts could be put in place in certain parts of the country in the “unlikely” even gas supplies are extremely limited.
TikTok influencer and author of How to Clean Everything, Ann Russell, shared some “small things” Britons can do to prepare in the event these blackouts become a reality with her audience of 2.1M followers.
In a video, she explained: “Blackouts, hopefully, you would know about them in advance so you could make preparations.
“Things that are useful: Head torches are really useful, candles and stuff can be really dangerous so, to be honest try not to [use them].
“Make sure that you have your phone charged and also, probably, if you know that we are coming into a period that is likely make sure you have power banks charger so that if your phone is low you can put it on.”
For Britons looking to occupy themselves during the potential three-hour periods of darkness, Ann recommends strapping on a head torch and reading a book.
@annrussell03 Replying to @Nathan Anderson ♬ original sound – Ann Russell She/Her
She added: “If you know its coming now is time to fill a Thermus with hot water so if you want a cup of coffee or something you can have a cup of coffee. It depends on how long they are.”
With millions of Britons now working from home, a potential period without power could be a daunting one.
Ann said: “If you keep a computer running, make sure you save all of your work and have an auto-save on so if they happen without warning you’re not going to lose the last hours’ worth of work.
“Really small things. They’re not the end of the world, they happen anyway and we get by.”
The TikTok influencer also pointed out that hands-free landline telephones may not work, and some homes might not be served by 4G.
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She explained: “I bought an ordinary phone that doesn’t need electricity to work, it just plugs in the phone socket.
“I bought this in a local charity shop and it was about £2 and it lives in a drawer so if the power goes out suddenly I can…plug this in, ring the electric company and find out when the power is back on.
“Because without the router we haven’t got 4G in this house, it’s not an area where we have got it, I rely on the router to give me my mobile phone connection in the house.
“[Go to a ]local charity shop, find a plug-in phone and keep it in the drawer just in case.”
How likely are blackouts in the UK?
Last Monday, at the Financial Times’s Energy Transition Summit, was the first time there has been an official discussion of the times potential blackouts could occur.
Due to the Russian war on Ukraine, and the subsequent sanctions on Russian imports, much of Europe is facing gas shortages. A high percentage of electricity across the continent is generated from gas, which means national electricity supplies could face huge strain as the colder, darker days approach.
In the UK, gas is used to heat the majority of homes, and approximately 40 percent of the nation’s electricity comes from gas-fired power stations. While the UK does not use Russian gas supplies, it does import gas from countries that rely on Russia and have imposed sanctions.
Though blackouts have been discussed by the national grid, experts have said they are “unlikely” and certain measures have been put in place to reduce the risk.
Power stations that use coal could be put on standby, rather than retired, in order to supply the country. There has also been some discussion of a reward system to encourage customers to reduce their energy usage during high-demand periods.
Earlier this month, when asked by Sky News about the likelihood of blackouts, climate, and energy minister Graham Stuart said: “We don’t expect that to occur. That’s not our expectation at all.”
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