Millions of UK homes warned of winter blackouts

If the Kremlin cuts off gas supplies to Europe, electricity could be reduced.

Ministers were warned that six million homes could be affected by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

According to The Times, officials from Whitehall have outlined a worst-case scenario that could lead to widespread gas shortages in the event that the Kremlin cut off further supplies for Europe.

The paper was told by a minister that electricity could be rationed to six million households for morning and evening peak periods for more than one month.

This scenario raises fears that UK gas imports from Norway could be reduced by more than half due to increased demand on the Continent.

This model assumes that the UK would cease receiving gas via the Netherlands or Belgium “interconnectors”.

In order to address the shortages, the government would need to create emergency plans. These could include closing gas-fired power plants and telling heavy industrial users not to burn gas.

The shutdown of the plants would cause a shortage of electricity. This would force the government to ration supplies during peak weekday hours of 7 am-10 am and 4 pm-9 pm.

According to The Times, gas supplies to households will not be affected.

Whitehall has reportedly devised a more severe plan in case Vladimir Putin cuts gas supplies to the EU. This would result in electricity blackouts that could start in December and last three months, even on weekends.

According to a Whitehall source, The Times was told by a Whitehall source: “As responsible governments, it is right to plan for every possible scenario, no matter how unlikely. Britain is prepared for any disruptions in supply.

“Unlike EU countries,” our North Sea gas reserves have been pumped at full pelt. Norwegian rigs are directly connected to the UK and we have Europe’s second-largest LNG import infrastructure. Germany does not have any. The EU’s dependence on Putin’s natural gas could make it very difficult for countries on the Continent to survive the winter.

Kwasi Kwarteng wrote last month to the owners UK’s remaining coal-fired electricity stations, asking them to extend their hours. Under plans to reduce carbon emissions, the three remaining plants were to close down in September.

The Business Secretary instructed National Grid’s operator of the electricity system to work with the industry in order to ensure that additional generating capacity is not fuelled by natural gas.

More than 35pc of the country’s electricity needs are met by gas. Although the UK has not purchased more than 4pc of its natural gas from Russia, it is connected to European markets that heavily depend on Russia’s fossil fuel.

While the EU receives about 40% of its gas from Russia, it is working to reduce its dependence. Russia has cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria since the beginning of the war, and there are fears that it may go further.

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