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National Grid asks power plants to fire up before coldest night of year

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theguardian.com

National Grid has asked power plants in Great Britain to generate extra electricity on Tuesday night before the coldest night of the year.The Grid’s electricity system operator (ESO) has issued an “electricity margin notice”, telling the owners of power plants to bring on extra power supplies between 4.30pm and 8.30pm on Tuesday.

National Grid stressed this did not mean supplies were “at risk”.On Monday, National Grid asked EDF to warm up a coal-fired unit at the West Burton A for potential use.

On Tuesday, it asked a further unit at West Burton A and two units at Drax in Yorkshire to warm up.They represent four of the five units covered by “winter contingency” contracts negotiated by government to keep coal fired power plants on standby for emergency use amid heightened concerns over power supplies this winter.The Met Office has issued weather warnings for rain and snow across the UK with temperatures of -4C expected in London and -6C in Birmingham.The freezing temperatures across the country are expected to trigger a rise in demand for power and heating.Strikes at EDF’s nuclear power plants in France, which supplies Britain with electricity via subsea cables, have also raised concerns in recent days.The Grid has been on alert over risks of potential power cuts this winter because of concerns Russia would cut gas supplies into Europe, with a knock-on effect on Britain.

However, a relatively mild winter and high levels of gas storage in Europe have eased these fears, and caused gas prices to fall sharply.A spokesperson for the ESO said: “An electricity margin notice (EMN) has been issued to the market.

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