Emergency measures will be introduced to prevent the lights going out this winter.
Offices and factories will be offered compensation to undergo 1970s-style energy rationing and shut down for up to four hours a day to prevent households being plunged into darkness.
In addition, owners of old power stations will be asked to switch them back on to meet the country’s demands.
National Grid had not planned to use this option until next winter. But yesterday it revealed a series of fires and setbacks had knocked some of the UK’s biggest generators out of service. Two nuclear power plants are also offline, and are unlikely to be running in time for the start of the colder weather.
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