28 Dec 2013

Why the Christmas power cuts are a frightening wake-up call

So the newsman finds himself an extremely minor statistic in the numbers cut off from all power supply during the Christmas break.

In truth, we lost it at around 11pm on Christmas eve and, miraculously, it returned in time to cook the turkey.

And then it went again two days later – and never came back before I had to leave for work in the afternoon.

I divined the first power cut was triggered by trees falling on the line, and the second by flooding to the Newbury power station. I was perhaps seven miles west. When I walked to the top of the down, I could see most of the populated valley below in darkness.

It tells you how rarely we lose electric power and how catastrophic it is when it happens.

Storms And Floods Continue To Cause Disruption Throughout The UK

Everything except flushing the loo seems to depend on power. Even the wretched shower head has been penetrated by power, and electrical pumps seem now to be involved in getting hot water to an upper floor.

The landline shuts down because all our phones are now wireless, even if there are landlines. And, of course, charging anything is out of the question.

You scrabble for torches, of which you have too few; you scrabble for candles, of which you have even fewer; and you realise that absolutely no effort has been made by your household to provision for a rainy day.

Well, now we know what a rainy day feels like.

And the frightening wake-up call? We are repeatedly told that forward planning in Britain’s energy supply has been woefully inadequate.

We are repeatedly told that there will be power cuts unless we are blessed with very fair circumstances indeed. The balance between green and planet-destroying sources is still hopeless.

How soon will it be that people start to buy generators? Who knows? But would that we were Norwegian, and instead of frittering away our profits from North Sea oil and gas, had like them built a sovereign wealth plan capable of provisioning the whole country for a rainy day.

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