The National Grid over the possibility of power blackouts on “really cold” days this winter, should gas imports be reduced.
The UK was placed on notice earlier this month by National Grid there is a chance of three hour blackouts could be required to in the “unlikely event” over gas supply demands.
John Pettigrew warned that the blackouts could take place between 4pm and 7pm in January and February on “really, really cold” days in the middle of winter.
The National Grid said, “In the unlikely event there is insufficient gas supply available in GB to meet demand, and should the market be unable to resolve the resultant imbalance, we have the tools required to ensure the safety and integrity of the gas system in the event of a Gas Supply Emergency.”
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However what must businesses need to consider with regards their employees so that they can carry out their normal day to day roles?
Daniel Zona, an Associate in the Employment Law team at Collyer Bristow told LondonLovesBusiness.com, “From an employment perspective, there remains a duty to ensure the health and safety of workers and to maintain a comfortable working environment. Employers may need to have contingency plans in the event of power blackouts.
“It could mean many will be unable to carry out their usual roles if their places of work are affected or if they cannot work from home. Subject to their employment contract, if an employee cannot work due to energy blackouts the employer will need to continue paying them as usual.
“Preparatory steps that can be taken include investment in generators or other alternative power supplies, acquiring portable heaters and reconfiguring workplaces to make them more energy efficient. If a safe working environment cannot be maintained then staff may need to remain at home, working remotely where possible’.
‘The pandemic has taught us some valuable lessons on how to cope in a crisis and businesses are likely to have more notice of impending power cuts than they did before going into the first lockdown.
“Practical steps could include asking staff to keep their mobiles and laptops fully charged immediately before a blackout to minimise disruption and being flexible about working hours to meet the needs of the business whilst respecting downtime and family friendly policies.”