Thousands without power as generators halted

Thousands of people were without power yesterday as British Energy halted generation from both units of its Sizewell B plant, along with five other stations.

National Grid has warned of further outages, with energy consultancies accusing the government of lacking the “political will” to fix Britain’s crumbling energy infrastructure.

Problems began around 11:30 BST yesterday with blackouts lasting until around 13:00 BST in London, Merseyside and Cheshire. People were trapped in lifts while medical operations were halted and traffic light systems failed.

The national grid issued its most severe warning – ‘demand control imminent’ – as the day progressed.

David Hunter, energy analyst at McKinnon & Clarke, said the blackout was a direct result of the government complacency over the country’s energy infrastructure.

“The government’s inability to make long-term energy security decisions over the last decade is coming home to roost. The lack of political will to make tough decisions has left Britain short of power.

“It is our view the government must swing its weight behind getting new stations built, and not just nuclear. Coal will be part of the solution – allied to carbon capture technology – in addition to renewables, as part of a diverse energy mix.

“We do not have the luxury of time,” he concluded.

Energy suppliers are refusing to reveal the reason for the shut-down, claiming it could affect the wholesale price of electricity.