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The UK could face planned blackouts this winter due to power shortages combined with cold weather.
Sources close to the government's planning told Bloomberg that the proposed restrictions make up part of the latest 'reasonable worst-case scenario' plan, which is designed to ensure the UK is able to respond to all situations.
According to the report, the country could face up to a sixth less electrical capacity needed during peak demand, even after emergency coal plants are being utilised.
The source explained that extreme weather with below-average temperatures could combine with rationed power imports from Norway and France to create a perfect storm.
As such, for four days at the start of January 2023, British businesses and even households may have to take part in planned blackouts in order to conserve energy usage.
Just like the rest of Europe, the UK has been hit with reduced gas supplies from Russia amid its attack on Ukraine, leaving it more reliant on continental supplies.
But hot weather this summer has hit the energy output from France's nuclear power stations as well as Norway's hydroelectric power generation.
Speaking about the issue, Kathryn Porter, an energy consultant at Watt-Logic, told The Telegraph: "National Grid ESO needs to urgently update its winter outlook taking account of this threat to Britain's energy security.
"Longer term, we need to develop more domestic generation and rely less on imports."
While power cuts are only in the proposed worst case scenario, the uncertainty about the country's energy supply only adds to mounting concerns about the coming winter.
As the cost-of-living crisis worsens, UK households are facing yet another energy price cap increase this autumn.
In April, the cap jumped from £1277 to £1971, and once again it is predicted to rise in autumn, this time to £2,980.
Beyond planned governmental measures to deal with the potential shortfall of power, thousands of Brits have signed up to cancel their direct debits and ignore bills from energy companies from 1 October if the situation hasn't changed by then.
According to recent figures, 75,000 people have signed up to take part in Don't Pay, with the grassroots organisation writing on Twitter: "If the government & energy companies refuse to act then ordinary people will!"
Officials have since suggested that the move could lead to negative consequences such as damaging your credit score or landing you in debt.
🚨 !! 75,000 PEOPLE HAVE PLEDGED TO STRIKE !! 🚨— Don't Pay. (@dontpayuk) August 4, 2022
💪 If 1 MILLION people pledge to strike then we will withhold payment from the energy companies!
🔥 We are building a people powered movement to end the #CostOfGreedCrisis
SPREAD THE WORD + SIGN UP:https://t.co/2ZdAhj3aXm
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy told The Telegraph: "Refusing to pay could put households into debt and affect personal credit ratings."
The spokesperson went on to say that a non-payment strike could even make energy costs go even higher.
"High wholesale gas prices have led to 29 energy suppliers exiting the market since last summer," they explained.
"Encouraging people to refuse to pay bills could lead to more failures – exacerbating costs for households in the longer term."