Bloomberg / Washington Post Article 'Listening to European Electricity Traders Is Very, Very Scary'

JohnPo Posts: 141 Forumite
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I saw this article it originated on Bloomberg and it was republished in the Washington Post.

I attach links to both because of paywall issues. 

I will quote one paragraph from the article that got me thinking:

'The weekly call is officially known as the “ESO Operational Transparency Forum,” and allows market participants to query the managers of the so-called Electricity National Control Centre, the hub that moves power around the UK from generators to traders to consumers. The forum typically deals with obscure power-trading problems. But in recent weeks, attention has shifted to crisis management. Another example from earlier this month: “If a system-stress event is active in both gas and power, how do the electricity system operator and gas control center communicate? Which stress event takes priority?” What’s particularly worrying is how few of the disaster scenarios appear to have been planned for.

I am not a conspiracy theorist or doom monger, but just wonder whether people have any views as to whether 'electricity rationing' is likely happen in the coming winter and sensible measures that an individual level that can be taken.


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Newbie
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    edited 28 August 2022 at 9:46PM
    Electricity rationing - lots of large consumers have interruptible or cap-able contracts, so that's where it will happen first.

    And I find it strange that they say few disaster situations have been planned for - there were plenty of plans when I was involved a few years ago, and I presume they haven't just been shredded.
  • The_Groat_Counter
    JohnPo said:
    I am not a conspiracy theorist or doom monger, but just wonder whether people have any views as to whether 'electricity rationing' is likely happen in the coming winter and sensible measures that an individual level that can be taken.

    Yes, I read that article a couple of days ago.

    Electricity rationing this winter seems quite possible, however the form it would take is larger industrial users having to cut their consumption - for example, factories shutting down production.
  • jj_43
    jj_43 Posts: 336 Forumite
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    yes there will be prepayment customers running out of credit, self disconnection.
    yes there will be customers rationing themselves.

    Very unlikely to be coordinated rationing as you expect. Just very very expensive energy prices. As there is little price signalling demand will remain high.

    a lot of the I&C customers have already reviewed their energy usage. Some have cut production and sold excess energy at high spot. Very profitable.
  • TheBanker
    TheBanker Posts: 1,912 Forumite
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    I think rationing of domestic electricity supplies is unlikely. But I do not think it's completely implausible.

    If you'd asked me three years ago, I would have said the likelihood of the whole country being shut down and locked in their houses due to the threat of a virus was unlikely - yet look what happened. 

    It is absolutely right that the energy distributors work through these scenarios to develop contingency plans. That doesn't mean the plans will be needed and doesn't mean people should panic. However, people should make their own contingency plans too. Do you have a torch or two in easily accessible places? Have you checked the batteries? Do you have a battery powered radio?

    These are all just sensible precautions - blackouts could occur because of rationing, but are more likely to occur due to infrastructure damage during bad weather. Look at how many homes lost power during the storms last winter, and how long it took for some of them to be re-connected. To me that's a bigger threat than a rotating power cuts due to supply issues, but at the end of the day the impact of both is the same. 
  • Mstty
    Mstty Posts: 4,209 Forumite
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    There is no clear evidence out there as to how much households will cut back on energy this year but imo it has to be a minimum of 10% and hopefully 20%.

    Businesses will definitely be doing the same as well as public services.

    Unless our supply of gas gets cut from Europe I would suggest we are fine.
  • Planeteer
    I have also been concerned about this, especially in combination with relative government inaction or strategic thought about it. The UK currently has the lowest gas reserves in the UK, Aand weans itself in the (false?) comfort that the majority of its gas needs come from elsewhere than Russia. And yet we see that Norway, another big supplier, is lowering its gas exports due to lower hydropower due to the summer. Will the UK's energy situation follow a similar pattern to the way this government has gone through earlier crises, such as Brexit and Covid, ie. With lack of preparation, strategy or intellectual substance? 
  • [Deleted User]
    There has been plenty of strategic thought, and all the options were known, but previous governments have made the decision for short-term gain and caved to popular opinion.

    We had the choice to maintain much greater gas storage, but it wasn't economic based on prices at the time and the companies asked for subsidy.  The government thought that it would be extremely unpopular to give public money to subsidise gas storage, especially when gas was cheap and there was no war, so didn't.

    We could have built new nuclear years ago, but the builders were asking for a guaranteed price of 20p/kWh.  The government decided that the public wouldn't support guaranteeing a generator's income, so didn't.
  • Swipe
    Swipe Posts: 5,119 Forumite
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    People will be self rationing. according to a recent poll (just heard it on the radio news bulletin) 1 in 4 people plan to not even use their heating this winter.
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