UK citizens warned to prepare for blackouts as energy firms battle to keep the power on during coronavirus crisis
UK residents have been warned of potential blackouts during the coronavirus crisis.
It is believed that staff shortages may lead to issues with the country’s power network.
The government self-isolation restrictions and staff sickness during the outbreak have been reportedly raising concerns of a possible shortage of engineers. On the contrary, the National Grid insists that the network is going to handle the shortages. Besides, industry chiefs are baching it up, describing it as ‘one of the most reliable networks in the world’.
The fear comes as UK Power Networks has written to some of its most vulnerable customers warning them to keep torches and warm clothes nearby in case of power cuts.
The distribution network operator owns and maintains the electricity cables in the South East and East of England, as well as London. They have written to their priority customers, including pensioners and families with young children, advising them on what to do if there is a power cut in their households.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the instructions include ‘keeping a torch handy’ and ‘reducing heat loss by closing doors on unused rooms’. Moreover, people are advised to have a ‘hat, gloves and a blanket to hand to keep warm’. Having a power bank for recharging their phones would also be a necessity.
A UK Power Networks’ spokesperson states:
“We regularly contact customers on our Priority Services Register, to ensure we meet their needs and it’s never more important than in the current circumstances. This is to ensure we continue to provide them with the best possible support. We are continuing to fix power cuts and maintain the electricity network to ensure its continued reliability. Across our networks, power supplies are 99.9% reliable, and our dedicated teams are keeping the power flowing.”
The electrical infrastructure firm’s customers were warned for blackouts as many other electricity firms across the UK put non-essential infrastructure work on hold during the quarantine.
Other emergency strategies have also been implemented to deal with the consequences of the pandemic.
By March 31, 22,141 people have been infected and 1,408 people have died by the coronavirus in the UK.
Reportedly, other electricity distributors are also contacting their most vulnerable customers. Moreover, they have been ensuring that their staff is able to continue working on essential projects while still following the government’s social distancing restrictions.
On the other hand, SP Energy Networks’s CEO admits that staff sickness was a particular concern at his firm operating in parts of Scotland, the North West and North Wales.
Other industry chiefs have supported the UK power network, claiming it is one of the most reliable electricity networks worldwide. One of them is the chief executive of Energy Networks Association, David Smith, who says:
“It is supported by stringent contingency plans and a workforce of 36,000 people. We’re keeping your energy flowing during the coronavirus pandemic and the network is operating exactly as it should.”