A government minister has failed to rule out energy rationing across the UK this winter after warnings three-hour power blackouts could be imposed.
Asked on Sky News whether the measure – not seen in the UK since the 1970s – would be brought in, climate minister Graham Stuart said the government did not “expect that to occur”.
But, he added: “You’ve seen all sorts of things happening in recent weeks and, you know, we plan for all eventualities.”
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The minister’s remarks come after the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) warned households and businesses might face planned outages to ensure that the grid does not collapse in the “unlikely” event gas supplies fall short of demand.
Mr Stuart insisted it was one of the “more extreme” scenarios and the UK was “in a pretty good position compared to other European neighbours” when it comes to energy supply, as the country is less reliant on Russian gas.
However, he said: “You can’t guarantee what’s going to happen in terms of the nature of our energy supply.”
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The minister also dismissed reports that a public information campaign on how to save energy, created by Business Secretary Jacob-Rees Mogg, had been scrapped by the prime minister.
According to the Times, the £15m was blocked by Number 10 as Liz Truss was “ideologically opposed” to what she saw as an interventionist approach.
Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, accused the PM of being “ideologically opposed to the public interest”.
“I don’t recognise that,” Mr Stuart told Sky News. “We’re in an iterative process of policy development and ideas, and we come to a conclusion, so the idea there was some highly developed campaign… I don’t recognise that. I don’t think that’s the way it was.
“But the last thing you want to do is tell someone, you know, to switch things off for the national need as it makes no difference to the national security position.”