Photo of John Hemming

John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the impact of a reduction in the voltage on the national grid in the event of a one in 50 cold winter on (a) domestic and (b) commercial consumers.

Photo of Malcolm Wicks

Malcolm Wicks (Minister for energy, Department of Trade and Industry; Croydon North, Labour)

If voltage demand measures were needed to handle a short-term electricity shortage the most likely visible impact on consumers would be a slight dimming of lights and kettles would take longer to boil. Some sensitive, mainly commercial and industrial, electronic systems may be affected e.g. fire alarms.

Demand restraint measures of this nature would mostly happen during the morning and evening peak demand periods.

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