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Air-conditioning implicated in electricity price hike

16 September 2016

UK electricity prices rose from around £40 per MWh to nearly £200 per MWh this week, the highest daily figure for 10 years, according to the BBC.

One factor was limited supply, due to planned maintenance closing a number of UK gas power stations and combining with some French power stations going offline.

This has been compounded by a cable connecting the UK and French power networks developing a fault and removing another 0.5GW from the UK's potential supplies.

The recent spell of warm weather has also coincided with low wind speeds, further reducing power generation.

However, demand for electricity has also increased, compared with the average requirement for September.

It has risen above that of last April, even though this brought unseasonably cold weather for many areas.

According to University of Sussex professor of energy policy Jim Watson, the increase in demand is mainly due to the use of air-conditioning in commercial facilities, as most systems are powered by electricity.

The combination of reduced supply and increased demand has led to the price hike in the day-ahead electricity price.

Professor Watson told the BBC this should not mean significant rises in energy bills, as only a 10th of UK electricity is purchased at the day-ahead price.

The National Grid has issued reassurance that there is sufficient capacity to satisfy demand for energy throughout the winter period.

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