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UK Will Be Facing Power Cuts

Over the next few weeks 10% of the UK’s capacity shuts down as older coal fired and oil power stations reach the end of their life. This is due to the EU mandate that states the power stations have to close after reaching 20,000 hours of operating time.

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UK Will Be Facing Power Cuts



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According to  Alistair Buchannan, chief executive of Ofgem  the UK faces a power supply issue within the next five years.

Within the next three years the spare capacity in the UK system will shrink from 14% to 5%, which is an uncomfortably tight margin.

Over the next few weeks 10% of the UK’s capacity shuts down as older coal fired and oil power stations reach the end of their life. This is due to the EU mandate that states the power stations have to close after reaching 20,000 hours of operating time.

Datamonitor Energy estimates that the UK will require 4% more power by 2020, and that spare capacity at that point will be 5%, leaving a 1% margin to cover higher energy needs during winter for example.

This is not enough and will according to Ofgem result in severe weather situations leading to power outages. They are assuring people that business customers will be hit first in order to keep the electricity flowing to homes across the country.

Gas will increasingly be used to fire power stations with estimates that gas consumption will increase by 40% over the next few years. Gas supplies in the UK are predicted to fall by 25% during this time of increased need which is going to lead to major supply and demand problems.

Due to EU regulations and ‘green targets’ being set by governments around the world the demand for gas is going to increase massively over the next few years. As most gas in the UK is from foreign suppliers it seems very likely that prices will rise in line with demand allowing foreign producers to ever increase their prices and the gas going to the highest bidder.

What’s at stake here is much more than having to use candles for  couple of days. Most boilers in the UK are combination boilers. They use gas but the spark is lit by electronic ignition. A safety cut off cuts the gas to the boiler if the electricity goes off. Most of these boilers have thermocouples on them that pre-heat using electricity before the spark ignites the pilot light. There is no way to relight these boilers manually with a naked flame as you could the old style boilers that are now banned due to their high carbon footprint. If your lights go out, in most cases the heating goes off as well.  This will be a disaster should it occur in winter, which is the most likely time due to increased demand.

It’s time to diversify your home power supply. If you have chimneys open up at least one so you can heat a part of the house, at a pinch you could heat up canned food in the open fire as well as cook baked potatoes and meat.

Those with gas hobs should consider fitting carbon monoxide monitors which are very cheap and easy to come by. Carbon monoxide will build quickly if you are using it to heat up the room. It’s clear and doesn’t smell so you will not notice that you are being poisoned.

For those with all electric homes thinking about what you will do if the power goes off is something you need to do now, leaving it until the last minute could be a death sentence. Extra covers/sleeping bags should be stored where you can get to them easily in the dark or by torchlight and cheap self-activating heat pads/hand warmers can be picked up on the high street and will provide comfort for the elderly and any children in the family.

Take Care

Lizzie

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Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic.

Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.

Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.

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