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The UK Will Struggle to Keep the Lights on This Winter

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A colder than normal January could mean blackouts. Is the UK’s next prime minister ready for the worsening energy crisis?

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(Bloomberg) — Subscribe to In The City on Apple podcastsSubscribe to In The City on Spotify London paid a record price for electricity to dodge a blackout in July. Thanks to what was the equivalent of a traffic jam on the national grid, an area in the city’s east was almost left without enough power. But after paying a record price of £9,724.54 — the highest Britain has ever paid to import electricity — homes and businesses were able to avoid going dark. London and the rest of the UK might not be so lucky come winter.

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In this episode of In The City, Francine Lacqua speaks to Bloomberg Opinion columnist Javier Blas about the close call, a story he says was terrifying to report. He also addresses the reasons behind the worsening energy crisis and record-high energy prices, and discusses the options the government has to address it. “This is not just an economic crisis,” Blas says. “It will cause social unrest. To me, the government either decides to bail out consumers directly, or it has to bail out industry later.”

Plus, Rachel Morison, Bloomberg’s head of energy coverage in London, details the government’s energy plan for this winter, which includes the possibility of organized blackouts for industry and even households for several days in January. As Morison explains, while the UK doesn’t envisage such shortfalls under its base case, the possibility of lights out highlights the difficult winter potentially in store for Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak when they succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister next month.



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