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Majority of businesses unconcerned about power cuts

A new study shows that most small and medium sized enterprises in the UK aren’t worried about winter power cuts. The research by British Gas Business indicated that 83 per cent of SMEs don’t view power loss as a threat to their business, and just 17 per cent of the 500 UK-based SMEs said power cuts were a concern.

Senior managers working in small businesses said they had lost an average of two working days in the last five years due to power cuts, while larger businesses with turnovers of £50 million or more had lost six days due to black outs. 

However, small and medium sized enterprises are being warned against complacency, and they are being urged to put an action plan in place now rather than risk losing access to heating or hot water in the winter.

Testing procedures and maintenance

The survey also indicated that only a limited amount of companies carry out testing procedures, and 72 per cent of businesses don’t have a maintenance plan in place. Moreover, 41 per cent of senior managers revealed they hadn’t organised annual services for boilers and other appliances; this figure was higher in smaller companies.

James Bennett, Managing Director of Business Services at British Gas, said:

“With winter fast approaching, now is the time for small businesses to make sure they have well maintained heating and hot water systems. Companies with annual servicing or maintenance plans in place are better positioned to focus their time on creating revenues and growth.” 

Employers are also reminded of their legal requirements to keep gas appliances, flues etc., well maintained.

Reduced risk of winter black out threat

However, there is less chance of black outs this winter, according the National Grid’s latest outlook report. The National Grid has taken steps to increase power capacity after warnings in the summer about the record low levels of spare capacity.  

The Telegraph reports the National Grid invested £123 million into ten power stations so they would stay open as part of an emergency scheme. Extra payments would be made to the power companies if the back-up support is needed.

Eggborough reprieve

The news that the Eggborough power plant in Yorkshire is to stay open has also resulted in extra capacity for the months ahead. The plant had originally been scheduled to close in March 2016, but the agreement with the National Grid means it has got a reprieve, and the plant will supply power under the Supplemental Balance Reserve scheme should capacity fall this winter.

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