Limits could be imposed on industrial use of gas, causing electricity shortages (Picture: Reuters)
Plans have been drawn up to ration electricity in the UK if European supply issues continue to deteriorate this winter.
A ‘reasonable’ worst-case scenario predicts major gas shortages if Russia cuts off more supplies to the EU, the Times said.
Earlier this month, the Kremlin halted gas exports and electricity delivers to Finland, in response to Helsinki’s bid to join Nato.
And Vladimir Putin was accused of using gas supplies as ‘blackmail’ after abruptly turning off the taps on Poland and Bulgaria.
As a result of further supply issues, ministers in the UK have reportedly been warned of potential power cuts to as many as six million households this winter.
The Times writes limits could be imposed on industrial use of gas, including on gas-fired power stations, causing electricity shortages.
As a result, six million homes could see their electricity rationed, primarily during morning and evening peaks, in curbs that may last more than a month.
Worse modelling is reported for a scenario in which Russia cuts off all supplies to the EU.
Up to six million homes in the UK could see their electricity rationed (Picture: Getty Images)
Unlike much of Europe, the UK is not dependent on Russian energy imports (Picture: Getty Images)
A Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson said the UK ‘has no issues with either gas or electricity supply, and the Government is fully prepared for any scenario, even those that are extreme and very unlikely to pass’.
The spokesperson said: ‘Thanks to a massive £90 billion investment in renewable energy in the last decade, we have one of the most reliable and diverse energy systems in the world.
‘And unlike Europe, we are not dependent on Russian energy imports.’
In 2021 imports from Russia made up 4% of gas used in the UK, 9% of oil and 27% of coal.
While the UK relies on Russian energy to a lesser extent than many other European countries, it is still exposed to the disruption in energy markets due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Threats to security of supply have prompted Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to ask Britain’s coal-fired power stations to delay their planned closures.
The request for the power stations in Drax, Ratcliffe and West Burton, which were due to shut in September, to stay open was made ‘in light’ of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
‘It is only right that we explore a wide range of options to further bolster our energy security and domestic supply – bringing down costs in the long-term,’ the spokesperson said.
Kwasi Kwarteng says coal-fired power stations can be used to bolster supplies (Picture: Getty Images)
Plans have been drawn up for if Russia cuts off all supplies to the EU (Picture: Getty Images)
‘While there is no shortage of supply, we may need to make our remaining coal-fired power stations available to provide additional back-up electricity this coming winter if needed.
‘It remains our firm commitment to end the use of coal power by October 2024.’
In 2021, imports of gas, oil and coal from Russian to the UK were worth a combined £4.5 billion.
Countries like Germany are particularly tied to Russian imports – which have continued despite the war in Ukraine.
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