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Britain’s food industry has been asked to prepare plans to avoid empty shelves

Business & Economy

Britain’s food industry has been asked to prepare plans to avoid empty shelves and NHS bosses have been told to ensure ‘diesel tanks are full’ as the UK braces for winter blackouts in January that will see days of planned power cuts closing railway lines and libraries amid plummeting temperatures.

A perfect storm of cold weather and gas shortages could lead to the implementation of organised blackouts that could impact on businesses and homes across the country, as well as forcing the closure of railways, libraries and other Government buildings.

As the Government prepares for winter, people familiar with its plans have suggested the ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ indicates electricity capacity could fall short by a sixth of peak demand.This could spark emergency blackouts, according to Bloomberg, which claims to have spoken to a source familiar with the Government’s thinking, although they added this scenario is not expected to happen.

But amid the warnings, the food and drink industry has been asked to come up with plans to avoid empty shelves in the event of blackouts, while ministers have ordered NHS bosses to make sure their ‘generators are properly serviced’ and ‘diesel tanks are full’.

If the blackouts are put in place, it would come at the same time as when energy bills are expected to surge past £4,000 as the price cap set by regulator Ofgem more than doubles.

A dire new forecast by energy consultancy Cornwall Insight has predicted this will rise even further in April as bills surge to £4,400, with consumer campaigners such as Martin Lewis demanding action from the Government.

In the event of power shortages this winter, it is reported that those running the gas network will temporarily override commercial agreements to direct the flow of gas.

This would be followed by stopping gas from being sent to power stations, which would see blackouts take place, raising spectres of the 1970s.

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