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UK Considered Energy Rationing As Winter Blackout Threat Looms

UK Considered Energy Rationing As Winter Blackout Threat Looms

The British government is considering a public information campaign to encourage energy rationing, with a possibility of blackouts this winter.

With the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines to Europe, which has been blamed simultaneously on both the United States and Russia by various commentators, gas supplies to the UK face a “significant risk” of coming up short this winter, according to British energy regulator Ofgem.

Given the potential blackouts that could result, The Guardian reported on Wednesday that the National Grid, which runs the power network in the UK, could use a text, phone call, and email alert system currently utilised to inform users of power cuts, to tell citizens how best to save energy.

Such a public information campaign may include advice like turning down the heating, and using the dishwasher and washing machine at night when energy prices are lower. According to the report, this was discussed with the Department of Business, energy companies, and the National Grid themselves.

The BBC have already been criticised for encouraging the public to use microwaves instead of ovens too cook their raw chicken.

However, a spokesman for the Business Department said that there are currently “no plans” for an energy rationing campaign of any kind. “The UK has a secure and diverse energy system, and we are confident that the steps we are taking will protect security of electricity and gas supplies.”

Jacob Rees Mogg, the current Secretary of State for Business, said that the “price signal” was “pretty strong,” and should be enough for people to understand “what they need to do” to save energy. “I’m not sure we need to tell people to do things that are obvious,” he said on Tuesday. “I’m not in favour of condescending government assuming people are stupid.”

Liz Truss, who took over as Prime Minister from Boris Johnson last month, flatly ruled out rationing energy during the campaign to become leader of the Conservative Party.

The approach from Truss and Mogg contrasts greatly with attitudes on the European continent, where German landlords are preparing to throttle the heating of their tenants, and analysts at Deutsche Bank recommending that people switch to heating their homes with wood.

Gavin Barwell, former Chief of Staff to former PM Theresa May, slammed the reluctance to suggest rationing energy “So, if it is a cold winter and there simply isn’t enough energy to go round… we are just going to have random blackouts rather than the government rationing non-domestic use so that vulnerable people don’t find themselves without heating?” Barwell asked.

This news and commentary by Jack Hadfield originally appeared on Valiant News.

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