Every week, the people who trade electricity in the UK get to quiz the managers of the national grid for an hour. Listening to them is getting scarier by the week — and suggests keeping the lights on this winter 🚨 will be a lot more challenging than European governments are admitting.
The industry’s teleconference suggests the problem is broader than just rising costs. Increasingly, the words “emergency” and “shortages” are being used.
“How bad the winter could be for anyone who can do the maths.” ⚠ The same caller was blunt about the grid’s own predictions: “I don’t think you believe what you’ve written, and nobody else does.”
Compare the tone with the British government’s insistence that there’s nothing to worry about. “Households, businesses and industry can be confident they will get the electricity and gas that they need over the winter,” Downing Street said earlier this week. “That’s because we have one of the most reliable and diverse energy systems in the world.” [Genau so, wie überall sonst auch 😒]
The forum typically deals with obscure power-trading problems. But in recent weeks, attention has shifted to crisis management.
To be sure, the call should focus on potential troubles ahead — it exists to anticipate and solve problems. But having listened in on multiple occasions over the last few months, I have three takeaways.
- ⚠ First, the looming power emergency is worse than many industry executives publicly acknowledge, and a lot more dangerous than the government admits.
- ⚠ Second, high prices are a big problem, but security of supply is at risk, too.
- ⚠ Third, time is running out to prepare before temperatures start to drop.