One of my first childhood memories was the power cuts of 1973-4. For a child they were rather fun - eating by candlelight, imagining what the blackout must have been like during the war. But thirtty years on power cuts may be returning. This week parts of central london were subjected to power rationing - which means they had their power turned off for four hours at a time. Businesses had to close, shops had to shut. All this is twenty first century Britain. It's something you might expect in a third world banana republic, not the world's fifth largest economy.
Apparently it is all to do with the power companies failing to anticipate the demand for energy during the hot weather. Obviously they don't look at weather forecasts. The Daily Telegraph tells us this morning that instead of 42,000 megawatts we will have used 44,000 megawatts of energy during July. That's a 5 per cent increase. Surely to God electricity companies ought to be able to cope with an unpredicted 5 per cent increase in demand? Have they not heard of the words 'spare' and capacity'? We're told that power stations sometimes go off line during the summer months for 'planned maintenance'. It's quite obvious that too many of them have been allowed to do so by whoever makes that sort of decision. And whoever that is ought to be fired. It's a national embarrassment.
PS And before we get the predictable comments in the Comments section about how privatisation must be to blame, save your breath. It's not. Two things have failed here - planning and regulation.