The likelihood of outages and how long households will be without power this winter has been revealed in a new report by the National Grid’s Electricity System Operator (ESO). 

As we head into winter,  households across the UK begin to use more electricity so that they can do everything from heating their homes to keeping them lit on those darker days.

But sometimes the electricity wind farms, gas power plants and others can supply is outweighed by the amount households and businesses want to use.

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Oxford Mail: See how likely it is there will be a power outage in your household this winter.See how likely it is there will be a power outage in your household this winter. (Image: PA)

National grid issues update on likelihood of power outages this winter in the UK

National Grid's ESO in their report on Thursday (September 28) said the risk of power outages in the UK had fallen ahead of winter 2023/24 and was almost back to the pre-energy crisis normal.

ESO said it only expects there to be around six minutes between the end of October 2023 and the end of March 2024 when it might have to resort to special measures to keep the grid running smoothly.


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In a report ahead of winter, when colder darker days mean people use more energy, the ESO said it expects the margin for this winter to be 4.4 gigawatts (GW).

That measures the average difference between how much electricity wind farms, gas power plants and others can supply and how much households and businesses will want to use.

This is higher than the 3.7 GW that the grid had to play with last year.

This means the period when demand might outweigh supply will be around 0.1 hours, or six minutes, during the five-month period, down from 0.2 hours last winter.

Should it get to this stage the grid operator lets potential generators know they should fire up, or use other tools to ensure that the grid stays stable.

ESO’s head of national control, Craig Dyke, said: “It’s not benign, but compared to last year it is almost going back to around where it was before last winter.

“So the risks that we talked about last year, the probability of them occurring, are much, much lower.”

A Government spokesperson added: “These outlooks show we are in an even stronger position going into this winter than last, thanks to the efforts we have made to boost our energy security, with our system operators expecting there to be sufficient gas supply and electricity capacity to meet demand.

“We are confident in our plans to protect families and businesses in a wide range of scenarios, but we are not complacent and will continue to work closely with energy partners at home and abroad.”

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Gas supply to remain stable this winter

Meanwhile, National Gas - which runs the gas grid - said it expects gas consumption to be broadly stable this winter.

Homes will use more gas, but less will be burnt to produce electricity, National Gas said.

It added that undersea pipelines will not transport as much gas from Britain to Europe as they did last year due to European countries being cut off from Russian gas.

This winter Britain will be likely to need gas imported from the European Union during cold spells to keep households heated.

Otherwise, it will largely rely on gas imported by ship – liquid natural gas (LNG) – or from the UK's pipeline from Norway.