National Grid fires up emergency coal stations as blackout fears still loom over low energy supplies | The Sun

NATIONAL Grid is firing up its emergency coal stations as energy supplies run low.

National Grid warned people that it is warming its emergency coal stations in case they're needed today.

It said: "This notification is not confirmation that these units will be used on Thursday, but that they will be available to the ESO, if required.

"The ESO as a prudent system operator has these tools for additional contingency to operate the network as normal."

It is the third time this winter the energy supplier has considered using the coal plants, which it previously said would be deployed only as a “last resort” to prevent blackouts.

However, previous plans were eventually cancelled so if this goes ahead, it will be the first time its run its emergency blackout plan.

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Temperatures have dropped massively across the UK and the cold weather is set to see a surge in electricity demand to the highest level so far this winter over the teatime peak tonight.

The move comes in the wake of fears raised that three hour blackouts could hit parts of the UK this winter.

This week and the warning comes just two days after households were paid to turn their heating off.

The National Grid's "Demand Flexibility Service" (DFS) is designed to reduce pressure on the energy network and prevent blackouts.

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National Grid told The Sun it won't be running the DFS event tonight (January 26).

The National Grid started running its first "live events" service, on Monday between 5pm and 6pm and then again on Tuesday.

Customers will get on average £3 back from National Grid if they reduce their energy usage by a minimum of 30% but others will get even more if they cut back further.

What happens if there's a blackout?

Planned three-hour blackouts could happen if there are low levels of wind power on the coldest of days.

The National Grid has said these planned blackouts will most likely happen between 4pm and 7pm on the coldest days between January and February.

If the power cuts do go ahead, it will be the first time there have been controlled blackouts since the 1970s. 

There are 15 power networks in the UK, and in the case of a looming shortage the National Grid will notify households if they will be cut off temporarily.

Blocks of households in particular areas could have their supplies cut off on rotation to avoid the entire country being plunged into darkness.

Colder temperatures during the winter naturally lead to more energy being consumed as people turn the heating on and have to use electricity for longer periods of the day. 

What emergency plan will National Grid follow?

Before a planned blackout, the National Grid will issue its emergency plan to reduce power supply.

Government documents reveal the first stage would involve direct appeals to the public to reduce their power consumption.

The second is putting restrictions on companies' electricity usage by requesting they reduce their consumption by a certain percentage.

And the final stage would involve rolling blackouts for homes across the UK.

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There's also the demand flexibility service (DFS), which will run from now to March, and is being introduced to help prevent blackouts.

It will run 12 times to ensure people are rewarded, even if there are no blackouts this winter.

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