Households warned about electricity blackouts if temperatures fall again

HOUSEHOLDS have been warned about the risk of electricity blackouts across Europe if temperatures fall this winter.

Should a cold snap hit the region, demand for gas could soar and hit supplies, meaning blackouts are "likely", investor Goldman Sachs said.

Even though enough is currently stored up, bad weather could mean supplies could drop below lows seen in 2018, Sky News reports.

It comes as Brits are bracing themselves for a -7C Arctic blast to hit the nation, brining severe frost and even snow in some areas in the coming week.

The bank also said gas prices could double if Russia increases its supply of gas into northwest Europe.

But other experts have warned that Russia could decide to restrict the flow of natural gas and petrol into Europe as tensions between the country and Ukraine grow.

Should Russia invade Ukraine, supply of gas into Europe could be tapered off, hitting supply and hiking prices.

Although just 3% of the UK's gas is supplied from Russia, compared to the 35% that Europe as a whole gets, households have been warned that they could feel the impact.

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Concerns have been raised that shortages could happen, which could drive up prices even further.

Families have been facing eye-watering bill hikes recently as the energy crisis continues, with some having to put 50% more of their weekly budget towards gas and electricity costs.

Prices could climb even further when the next energy price cap change is made, with experts predicting it could rise to a record-breaking £1,800 a year from April.

The UK is one of Europe’s biggest users of natural gas — 85% of our homes use gas central heating, and gas is also used to generate a third of our electricity.

It comes as Boris Johnson warned President Putin yesterday that invading Ukraine would be "painful, violent and bloody", as the UK and US began to pull embassy staff out of the region over fears war may be just days away.

Brits were already warned in November last year about the possibility of blackouts this winter due to an energy crunch – and it's not the first time this has happened.

Households were warned to keep torches and warm clothing at the ready in March 2020 as energy firms pressed pause on non-essential work during the Covid crisis.

In 2018, Britain was on the brink of running out of gas due to low storage and freezing weather.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Ofgem and the National Grid were approached for comment.

How to prepare for a power cut

While the likelihood of a power cut isn't high due to low storage supply issues, here's what to do if you are hit by one due to bad weather.

First, you'll want to check if there is actually a power cut – and not that your sockets aren't working or a bulb has blown.

You should call 105 to get information on whether there's a power cut in your area, and to report one too.

Once you've made sure it's actually a power cut, contact your network distributor – use Energy Networks Association's postcode searcher to find out who yours is.

They should be able to give you a rough idea of when the lights will go back on.

Although power cuts don't last for very long in most instances, you can still put in place preparations for one so you're not caught out.

You should buy a torch and avoid using candles – they can cause fires.

Getting an external battery pack could be a good idea so you're not relying on the mains to charge your phone if its running low.

Have some blankets and jumpers to hand for instances when the heating might go down.

If you rely on a medical device that requires battery make sure you talk to your doctor about what to do in the case of a powercut.

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