Winter blackouts ‘extremely unlikely’ but UK must ‘plan for all scenarios’, says minister | Politics news

Power outages this winter are “extremely unlikely” this winter, Cabinet Office Minister Nadhim Zahawi has told Sky News.

The Tory frontbencher also insisted there was no need for the Government to spend £14m on an energy-saving public information campaign, given the advice already available.

Mr Zahawi’s comments come amid concerns about blackouts with pressure on energy supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In an extensive interview with Trevor Phillips on the Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, Zahawi also said:

Called for party unity in light of conflicts after the planned tax relief chaos
• Insisted that no decision had been made to increase benefits in line with rising inflation rather than wages
• stressed the need to tackle “bad migration”, as some foreign students bring more than six dependents with them

Pressed on the possibility of planned power outagesZahawi said: “It is extremely unlikely.”

While stressing the UK’s energy resilience, he added: “But it’s only right that we plan for every scenario.

“All I’m going to say is we have a buffer, the same buffer as last year, and so I’m confident that come Christmas, the cold weather, we’ll continue to be in that robust place, but it’s only right, we’ve looked at every scenario.”

So has the government resisted calls to encourage people to reduce their overall energy usedespite warnings of an increased risk of blackouts, with ministers arguing it was “not a nanny state”.

It follows reports Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg had signed off on a public information campaign only for the plan to be ruled out by the Prime Minister Liz Truss.

Read more:
Don’t light candles and write down emergency numbers: How to prepare for a blackout
How worried should we be about the lights going out?

She has instead highlighted the importance of increasing energy production in the UK to prevent further crises and sought to reassure the country that “we will get through this winter”.

Zahawi said: “What National Grid is doing with Ofgem is also having a communications program to tell people how they can do better.

“We ourselves if you go to gov.uk you will be able to see how you can actually help your home or business save energy.”

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When Mr Zahawi was challenged on reports that Mr Rees-Mogg had agreed an information campaign, Mr Zahawi replied: “The question you’re asking is about spending £14 million on a campaign. I think that’s the wrong thing.

“The National Grid and Ofgem and indeed a number of the energy providers are using that direct communication with households to be able to say ‘here are some measures you can take’.”

He added: “What we’re not doing is spending £14 million on a government campaign.”

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