No, you haven’t accidentally travelled back through time to the early 1970s; energy regulator Ofgem really has warned that the UK could face energy blackouts over the winter. Let’s explore Ofgem’s warning and see how businesses are responding.
What’s going on?
In a letter released earlier this month, the UK’s energy industry regulator Ofgem warned that the UK is facing a ‘significant risk’ of gas shortages this winter, which could impact electricity supply.[i]
According to Ofgem, ‘Due to the war in Ukraine and gas shortages in Europe, there is a significant risk that gas shortages could occur during the winter 2022–23 in Great Britain. As a result, there is a possibility that Great Britain could enter into a gas supply emergency.’ If such an emergency occurs, supplies would be cut to the largest gas users – which are basically large, gas-fired power stations. Power stations that supply 40–60% of the UK’s electricity.
Whether this might lead to energy blackouts or homes and businesses having to ration energy remains unclear. But some businesses are beginning to prepare for those eventualities.
The response from businesses
In a poll conducted by engineering mag, The Engineer, 20.3% of respondents said they were readying their business for potential energy blackouts.[ii] But it wasn’t clear whether the remaining 79.7% weren’t taking action because they felt energy blackouts weren’t a real threat, or simply because they didn’t know what to do.
What can you do? The good news is there are some practical steps that will help to prepare your business for potential disruption. Good first steps include:
· Investing in standby generators for critical equipment.
· Encouraging employees to keep devices fully charged, especially when a planned blackout is on the horizon.
· Adjusting working times to accommodate planned blackouts (that is, if employment contracts allow for it).
· And reviewing employment contracts for new hires to maximise flexible working options.
Bottom line, businesses might want to take this opportunity to review their business continuity plans and consider whether there are extra measures that could help them ride out potential energy disruption this winter. As with any contingency plan, hopefully you never need to implement it!
You might also want to consider your business’s staffing needs. Could your company benefit from a more flexible employment model, for example? Roc Search can help you answer this question and more. Explore your options with our team today.
[i] Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-63118574