National Grid warns companies of blackout risk this winter

Posted on 31 Oct 2015 by Tim Brown

The risk of households and companies experiencing energy blackouts this winter is at its most severe for a decade, the National Grid has said.

The National Grid revealed that the forecast capacity margin – the difference between available supply and expected peak demand – is 1.2%, the lowest since 2005-06. The company said there was an “increased likelihood” it would have to use its “contingency balancing services” in order to keep the power on over the coming months.

What can you do?

GDF SUEZ Energy UK and The Manufacturer are hosting a 30 minute webinar to provide an explanation of the National Grid Balancing Services and help companies ascertain if they can qualify to participate.

Participants in the Balancing Services can greatly reduce their energy bills or even potentially generate an income.

Click here to register for the webinar, which is taking place on November 11 at 10am.

The webinar will also cover the following topics:

  • Understanding your energy consumption
  • What is TRIAD avoidance and how can it help your business save money
  • Other ways to benefit from any on-site generation

What are the Balancing Services?

In 2014, National Grid launched two new balancing service products to help ensure the uninterrupted supply of electricity during the 2014/15 and 2015/16 winter periods.

The two balancing services, Demand Side Balancing Reserve (DSBR) and Supplemental Balancing Reserve (SBR), offer UK manufacturers the opportunity to significantly reduce their energy bills and even potentially generate an income.

Demand Side Balancing Reserve (DSBR) will pay large energy users to reduce their demand by an agreed amount during evenings between November and February, when National Grid suspects demand will be significantly outstripped by supply.

Supplemental Balancing Reserve (SBR) will pay for moth-balled or would-be closed generating plants to remain available over the winter periods to provide backup power in the event of a spike in demand or the loss of a generating unit.

Why are these services needed?

In 2013, Ofgem published an Electricity Capacity Assessment which anticipated that the gap between electricity supply and demand (the capacity margin) would be much tighter mid-decade than previously expected.

In response, National Grid worked with DECC, Ofgem and industry experts and developed the balancing products, which could be implemented relatively quickly to aid security of supply in the critical forthcoming winter periods.