National Grid has been “naively complacent” in believing that new smart energy technologies such as smart meters and smart grids will be sufficient to ensure security of supply when old power plants close, the GMB union has said.

Speaking on 31 August, the organisation’s national secretary Justin Bowden said: “Avoiding winter blackouts with a “smart energy” revolution is fanciful nonsense; the smart grid is years away. What is needed to guarantee the lights stay on over the coming winters are new power stations and the go-ahead for Hinkley Point C would be a start given that the coal fired stations are due to close next week.”

Bowden was responding to comments to the BBC by National Grid UK executive director Nicola Shaw, who suggested that businesses varying their energy usage would become increasingly important in balancing the system.

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