UK National Grid targets corporate energy cuts to head off blackouts.

Guardian: “National grid is preparing to start talks over which future energy supplies could be cut off to some businesses between 4pm and 8pm in an attempt to head off a power crunch and blackouts this coming winter.”
“The move was revealed as the group reported annual profits for last year of £2.6bn and triggered criticism for paying out a dividend of more than £1bn to shareholders.
The Grid, which operates the gas pipes and electricity pylons, signalled it would begin talks with about a dozen customers shortly in an attempt to encourage them to sign multi-year deals under which they would agree to have their energy supplies cut off this and following winters in return for significant discounts in the bills.
“We have new tools in place given to us by (regulator) Ofgem that allows us to do this. We will consider in the coming weeks whether we are going to exercise those rights,” said Steve Holliday.
The Grid chief executive declined to say what the final decision would be but clearly signalled that it was highly likely he would press ahead to try this type of mutually-agreed demand reduction.
….The power network operator also wants the deals to cover subsequent winters as Britain is considered vulnerable to outages at least until 2018 when there is hope a new range of power stations will come on stream.
….”With the National Grid networks costs now accounting for nearly a fifth of the average energy bill hard-up households will surely be shaking their heads in despair at yet another huge payout for shareholders profiteering from their high energy bill misery,” argued Clare Welton, Fuel Poverty Action.”