Fri, 03 Dec 2021

DUBLIN, Ireland: Irish homes could experience power blackouts this winter due to ongoing supply issues facing the nation's energy providers, ministers have been warned.

Media reports indicate that in a confidential briefing note for a Cabinet committee on climate change, ministers were told that citizens might have to endure emergency measures if energy supplies run low due to high demand during cold weather.

If energy supplies fall to very low levels, plans call for giving businesses one hours notice before losing their power or switching to generators. Residential homes will also be disconnected from the power network.

While the document said all measures will be taken before cutting electricity supplies, it warns that "the potential for system emergencies and the need for demand control cannot be ruled out".

Possible winter power outages come even as energy prices continue to soar and the Government faces continued political pressure over the demand put on the electricity network by data centers.

At the same time, Taoiseach Michel Martin worked to calm the public, claiming there will be no blackouts during the winter.

Of note, the Communications Minister has said the Climate Action Plan will include reductions in emissions for data centers.

Government officials have been told, however, that reductions in power could be enforced if there are "tight margins" on the electricity system, or even if there is a reduction in wind energy.

Under a new system for reducing available power, users of high amounts of electricity will be notified with as little as an hour's notice to reduce their power usage.

Referring to power provider EirGrid, the document stated, "Should a further reduction in demand be required, EirGrid will instruct the ESB network to initiate the disconnection of some customers that are connected to the distribution system (generally smaller customers, including homes)."

"Every measure at the disposal of the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and EirGid will be taken to avoid this scenario, but it can never be ruled out."

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