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Now there will be load shedding in UK too!

By Nisar Ahmed

The UK is planning for four days of load shedding in January 2023, if several things go wrong.
It is also learning the term “load shedding”, thanks to such planning, after decades of stable electricity supplies.
Households can claim up to R14,000 from their electricity providers for extended outages.
Increasing prices have seen increasing electricity theft in the developed country.
In what leaked documents term a “reasonable worst-case scenario”, the United Kingdom could face up to four days of load shedding in January 2023.
But the nation’s government has rushed to reassure citizens it does not consider that particularly likely. The mere possibility of such an outrageous emergency measure has the country studying up on the concept of load shedding, a term for electricity rationing that is just entering the lexicon, after decades during which demand and supply of electricity grew in tandem.
Now experts in that country are looking to South Africa for the implications of load shedding, including psychologically. In SA, they say, power cuts make for an environment in which optimism becomes nearly impossible. That may come with policy implications, such as forcing businesses to shoulder a greater portion of forced power cuts, even at a higher economic price, so that citizens may escape the despair of the lights going out.


Such decisions will be made in the near future, it seems; a source told The Telegraph that the national grid operator was preparing for electricity shortages on an “accelerated timeline”.
Advanced planning in May this year, as the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started to become clear, suggested that blackouts in the UK could start by December, and could then last for up to three months, until the northern hemisphere starts to emerge from winter. Current forecasts have pushed that back to January, and to four days of load shedding in total, assuming several things go wrong at once, cutting electricity imports from the European mainland.
Power cuts are extremely rare in the United Kingdom, and localised outages that affect a few hundred homes at a time – often only for hours – make national news. For planned outages due to maintenance, electricity operators are required to provide a minimum of two days’ notice – or pay R600 in compensation.
For unplanned outages, operators must pay compensation that is calculated using a formula that takes into consideration the reason and size of the outage. Households can claim the equivalent of R1,500 for a 12-hour outage. In some cases, compensation for long-running electricity cuts is capped at the equivalent of around R14,000.
As it prepares for possible rationing, the UK is also rapidly getting used to paying more for electricity. Between January and March, domestic electricity prices were up 17% according to a quarterly government review, contributing to what politicians across the spectrum have described as a cost-of-living crisis. Although gas is widely used to heat homes and water, electricity is the main form of energy used by households.
With higher prices have come higher reported rates of electricity theft, or “dishonest use of electricity” as it is formally known, with data suggesting the rate of theft may have doubled in the early part of the year.
Worst-case scenarios now put annual household energy prices at £4,400 per year in 2023, equivalent to more than R7,000 per month. That is under a price-cap model, where the price charged for electricity and gas is not directly regulated, but providers have a ceiling on what they may charge individual households.

London blackout in 2003
The 2003 London blackout was a serious power outage that occurred in parts of southern London and north-west Kent on 28 August 2003. It was the largest blackout in Southeast England since the Great Storm of 1987, affecting an estimated 500,000 people.
Power went off at about 18:26 and Power returned after 34 minutes at 19:00 but is reported to have taken about two hours to be restored fully in some areas.
Even before the blackout, the UK press were anticipating a UK equivalent of the Northeast blackout of 2003 in North America, which occurred two weeks earlier (August 14) and affected about 100 times more people.
On the day of the blackout caused major problems on transport including the London Underground.
Later it became clear to the press that the blackout might not be directly attributable to underinvestment, but this was still the main thrust of the stories. On 10 September National Grid published a 43-page report describing the causes of the blackout (and made it available on the internet).
The London Fire Brigade took around 400 calls and made hundreds of rescues for people stuck in lifts. All main rail services were at a standstill in south London and the south-east. Sixty percent of the London Underground was affected (London Underground had shut down the last of their independent generators in favour of using Grid supplies in 2002) and people were stuck underground. 270 sets of traffic lights were hit. To relieve the transport problems, buses accepted train and Tube tickets. Thousands of people took to the rain-soaked streets. Pubs filled up with people sitting out the delays.

Top 20 countries out of 145 where
load shedding occurs

Rank Country Value Year
1 Pakistan 75.20 2013
2 Bangladesh 64.50 2013
3 Papua New Guinea 41.90 2015
4 Iraq 40.90 2011
5 Yemen 38.80 2013
6 Nigeria 32.80 2014
7 Central African Republic 29.00 2011
8 Benin 28.00 2016
9 Niger 22.00 2017
10 Congo 21.50 2009
11 The Gambia 21.10 2018
12 Burundi 16.60 2014
13 India 13.80 2014
14 Zambia 13.30 2019
15 Dem. Rep. Congo 12.30 2013
16 Afghanistan 11.50 2014
17 Myanmar 11.00 2016
18 Burkina Faso 9.80 2009
19 Sierra Leone 9.10 2017
20 Tanzania 8.90 2013

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