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E-car chargers will turn off to prevent blackouts

September 13, 2021

By Paul Homewood


h/t Dennis Ambler


From The Times:



Electric car charging points in people’s homes will be preset to switch off for nine hours each weekday at times of peak demand because ministers fear blackouts on the National Grid.

Under regulations that will come into force in May, new chargers in the home and workplace will be automatically set not to function from 8am to 11am and 4pm to 10pm. Public chargers and rapid chargers, on motorways and A-roads, will be exempt.

The government is also taking powers to impose a “randomised delay” of up to 30 minutes at other times to avoid pressure on the grid if there is a scramble among motorists to recharge their batteries at the same time.

There are only 300,000 battery electric vehicles (EVs) on the UK’s roads. 


We have long been assured that EVs would not cause problems for the grid, because most of the charging would take place at night when there is spare capacity. As many of us could have told them, most drivers would simply plug in as soon as they got home.

Now the government has woken up to this reality.

Charging between 10pm and 8am may be OK for some, but what about shift workers?

This new regulation is a clear admission that government is now seriously concerned about grid capacity and blackouts. I suspect there will be many more measures to come designed to ration electricity.

  1. September 13, 2021 5:00 pm

    The Govt are not the brightest are they!

    • September 14, 2021 8:01 am

      Oh Come on, where is your sense of humour? Paul runs a satire site here and brilliantly makes up all these mad stories.

      Our sensible and highly skilled politicians would not be capable of such errant stupidity as Paul conjures up every day.

      Paul-You are being satirical aren’t you?

      • D Cage permalink
        September 15, 2021 8:28 am

        So climatereason you are joking yourself or you are saying DCUSA DCP371 is a fiction? Oh and USA to us cynics is designed to mislead people who do not know into ignoring it as not to do with the UK. Quote :- Electricity networks in Great Britain were not designed to accommodate the significant additional demand that certain consumer devices (such as electric vehicle (EV) chargers) presents. In some circumstances, Distributors will be required to act to find a balance between their obligation to operate cost-effective, safe and reliable electricity networks and the need to support customers who wish to adopt low carbon technologies such as EVs.

      • September 17, 2021 6:26 pm

        Arrant, I believe, is the word FakeWebsite was looking for.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 14, 2021 10:54 am

      You would almost think you have to take a stupidity test to become a Moron of Parliament just to make sure you are not too bright to be one.

      • Brian Jackson permalink
        September 14, 2021 6:54 pm

        Gerry, are you not aware that under the Parliamentary Intelligence Act of 1591, it was ruled inadmissible to enter Parliament without a CoCS (Certificate of Confirmed Stupidity). This was to protect the Monarch, being totally stupid himself, so he wouldn’t look so in front of his court. The act was repealed in 18 20, to allow George III – a notable idiot – to ascend the throne.
        Pity we don’t have a modern version now.
        Sarc switch activated..

  2. John Hultquist permalink
    September 13, 2021 5:01 pm

    “Shift workers”

    We don’t need no stinking shift workers.
    Apology to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

  3. Beagle permalink
    September 13, 2021 5:01 pm

    The whole thing has been well thought through, hasn’t it? No, what a fiasco no plan and no idea, make it up as you go along.

    • Broadlands permalink
      September 13, 2021 5:12 pm

      But, don’t forget we have a huge climate emergency on our hands so we must act now to avoid that fiasco.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      September 13, 2021 8:22 pm

      Indeed it hasn’t. Basically it doesn’t really begin to address the problems. If you are a high mileage salesman you probably need to leave home well before 8 a.m., which means you may only get 8 hours of charging overnight – at 7kW, that’s 56kWh in or about 170 miles of driving. 3 hours on the motorway. It’s not going to cut it. You wouldn’t want to be fast charging, as that kills battery life by lowering capacity with repetition. Can’t have working time taken up at a charging station either.

      It does absolutely nothing towards managing demand on street distribution cabling, so you would get demand rapidly building up after 10 p.m. even from low mileage commuters. 1 hour at 7kW is roughly 20 miles of range. Unlike kettles, which only take a few minutes (or less – I can boil enough for a cuppa in 45 seconds) to boil, and therefore only require a small element of randomisation of start time to produce a fairly even load, with no saving by cutting the kettle power rating which just results in taking longer to boil, and therefore more kettles operating at the same time.

      Of course the cabling problem will arise when you start electrifying heating anyway.

      It’s going to take smart charging apps that book your charging slot according to assorted criteria – trying to share out the local cable capacity, which is going to be a major constraint, as well as the general level of load at the grid level, and the availability or not of surplus wind etc. The tariffs will be highly variable. You may be permitted a 3kW trickle charge for no premium, which is probably good enough for a short distance commuter.

      But who knows were we will end up if we have days of £400/MWh day ahead prices like tomorrow? Add in another £100-150/MWh for the other elements of the electricity bill and you’re looking at higher mileage costs than a diesel.

      • September 14, 2021 7:38 am

        It doesn’t add up,

        local distribution network is a problem that few are aware of and it is very basic for the most part. Being three phase based and with random loads mostly single phase in domestic areas, managing that load is not possible.
        I can see a lot of localised trips of this network in the future.

      • Joe Public permalink
        September 14, 2021 10:52 am

        Hi IDAU

        1. “If you are a high mileage salesman … You wouldn’t want to be fast charging, as that kills battery life by lowering capacity with repetition.”

        It’d likely be a company car. Salespeople rarely get bollocked for not driving frugally, but they do get bollocked for not reaching sales or call-quota targets!

        2. “But who knows where we will end up if we have days of £400/MWh day ahead prices like tomorrow? Add in another £100-150/MWh for the other elements of the electricity bill …”

        Those pesky Smart Meters are ideally designed to implement domestic “Maximum Demand” charges!

        The Standing Charge is based upon that premises’ maximum half-hourly consumption in a month – to reflect the generation & distribution capacity utilised.

        And ALL consumption in that particular month is costed at a figure based upon that premises’ *maximum half-hourly consumption*.

        The true costs to the system of virtually un- time-shiftable heat pumps will then really hit home.

        But look on the bright side – those heat pumps will cost next to nothing (or may even be paid) to run at mid-day on a sunny summer’s day when a million solar panel owners simultaneously attempt to offload their surplus power.

  4. Peter MacFarlane permalink
    September 13, 2021 5:27 pm

    Surely once everyone is charging their milk float overnight, there simply won’t be any such thing as off-peak, but no doubt our wise leaders have foreseen this and have a plan.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 14, 2021 9:03 am

      And off-peak only exists with reliable fossil fuel or nuclear generation that you don’t turn off because it costs more to restart. Once you shift largely to renewables there won’t be off peak as such because “peak” is out of our control.

  5. September 13, 2021 5:30 pm

    Users will be able to override the presets. See my comment at Cliscep:

    I Dream of EV

    • September 13, 2021 5:31 pm

      Hm, dunno why wordpress did that. I pasted in a link to the latest comment in the thread, not the head post!

  6. PaulM permalink
    September 13, 2021 5:33 pm

    I wish I knew you said it first but “A camel is a horse designed by a government committee”
    Seems so appropriate.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      September 13, 2021 9:18 pm

      To be ever so slightly fair to government 😖 the original, which dates back at least to 1960 (and is usually attributed to ‘anon’), didn’t include the word ‘government’! It’s a cousin of “Decisions are always made in committees with an odd number of people, and three people is already too many,” which I discovered was first said by Marshal Foch.
      (A mine of useless information, me!!)

      • Joe Public permalink
        September 14, 2021 10:59 am

        PM & MJ – your comments remind me of the “Tree Swing Designed by Committee” cartoon:

  7. GeoffB permalink
    September 13, 2021 5:36 pm

    When I was a student electrical engineer at UNI in the 60’s, in the second year we all went into flats, apartments, houses divided up and their was inevitably a coin in the slot meter owned by the landlord set to some exorbitant rate. I spent a lot of my time bypassing or resetting the rate not to zero, but a lot less. I prioritised the girls as they were often suitably grateful, say no more. It should be pretty easy to bypass whatever system they put on. Another thought, theft, are we going to have secret illicit backstreet chargers operated by criminals selling electricity at half price? YES. It is going to be an absolute disaster!!

    • Jordan permalink
      September 14, 2021 8:44 am

      Geoff – I was surprised at how adept the distribution companies are at detecting theft and (yes) cannabis farms. Growing pot usually will involve large amounts of power or gas which is often stolen by fiddling the metering, so a sudden large increase in consumption on a street is an indicator.
      There is metering all the way down the line for both commercial and safety (fault) monitoring. Sudden and unexplained changes flag a case for investigation to detect technical faults or malfeasance.
      You are correct to suggest that some clowns will fancy their chances as illicit backstreet chargers. I expect they will be quite easy to deal with.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        September 14, 2021 11:57 am

        Thermal imaging will show up a cannabis farm as the building will be positively glowing – unless of course it happens to be a nice lady keeping guinea pigs in her garage so the huge armed police squad wasn’t needed.

  8. Brian Smith permalink
    September 13, 2021 5:58 pm

    What about multi EV families/households?

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 14, 2021 11:58 am

      You will only be allocated one vehicle by the local commissars.

  9. Penda100 permalink
    September 13, 2021 6:06 pm

    I am not sure which is the more stupid – restricting charging time or expecting people to switch to EVs after this latest nonsense.

  10. Mad Mike permalink
    September 13, 2021 6:20 pm

    The main point is not about rationing EV chargers per se but the fact that coming changes are, as well as being wonderfully badly thought out, going to lead us in to restrictions and changes to our lifestyles and probably our well being that are being hidden from us. Well, most of us anyway. We will be fuel poor and thats fact.

    I bet nobody in Government or in opposition has got a well thought out plan to bring in their various virtue signalling ideas without undue harm to the electorate, especially the low earners and retired. Even now Johnson has failed to publish the costings of his Green Agenda. Its an absolute disgrace.

    • Mad Mike permalink
      September 13, 2021 6:34 pm

      Thinking more about this, why are they bringing in this regulation now when there are so few EV’s around? What has the Government been told, presumably from managers in the Grid, that has prompted this. Surely the last thing HMG wants, while encouraging ownership of EV and the sales figures disappointing, is to bring in such a negative piece of regulation. We know or can guess the potential for blackouts this winter but what if the chances are a lot worse than we thought?

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        September 13, 2021 9:17 pm

        Perhaps because from 1st September 2020 to 31st August 2021 there were only 35 days when maximum wind exceeded maximum gas generated electricity and even they’ve probably noticed that solar falls to zero in the hours of darkness. The evening off period starts just when solar switches off completely.

      • September 13, 2021 10:03 pm

        They are bringing it in now so that there are not too many chargers without time control installed as these changes effect new chargers. Best get them in before there are a few million EVs needing charged.

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        September 13, 2021 11:24 pm

        Ben Vorlich:
        Are you sure that politicians have noticed “zero solar in the hours of darkness”?
        Comments about that and the wind not always blowing don’t seem to have penetrated political craniums in the last 13 years.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 14, 2021 12:01 pm

      The answer Mike is that it is NOT possible to introduce all this insanity without it being totally detrimental to nearly everybody. At least when it all collapses the planet will be fine given there is no problem to solve.

  11. El Toro permalink
    September 13, 2021 6:43 pm

    And then they’re trying to figure out how to replace the revenue lost from no longer taxing motor fuel. Ah, the law of unintended consequences strikes again!

    • pardonmeforbreathing permalink
      September 13, 2021 10:36 pm

      It is clear that there were no adults in the room when any of this crapola was floated. The lack of BASIC arithmetic at any stage to justify the implementation of this nonsense makes for sober reading. It is as if there is a collective madness and the competition is to see who can have the greatest negative impact on our society. If civilization as we know it survives this nonsense (and the marxism underpinning it) what will historians in 200-300 years time make if it, and us?

      • A man of no rank permalink
        September 14, 2021 11:07 am

        This lack of basic arithmetic bothers me too. I’m helping my grandson with his Maths and there is a section called ‘Estimating and Checking’. This is part of the National Curriculum for every 10 year old in England. There are also bits on Rounding and on Mental Maths.

  12. Ian Johnson permalink
    September 13, 2021 6:46 pm

    I’m sure there’ll be plenty of spare solar capacity between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

    • Derek Clews permalink
      September 13, 2021 7:06 pm

      Via the Antarctic interconnector, pehaps?

  13. Julian Flood permalink
    September 13, 2021 6:47 pm

    Five or six years ago I told our MP* who was the Minister for Energy and Climate Change that his dash for ‘decarbonisation’ via wind and solar was playing Russian roulette with the Grid and hence actual lives.

    This winter we’ll spin the revolver once again and the odds are looking bad, with the Grid already creaking In September!

    One big power cut and the government will wobble. Two and it will fall.

    *Nice chap but not the sharpest knife in the drawer**. I wonder what happened to him.
    **Oxford PPE. Nuff said.

  14. Joe Public permalink
    September 13, 2021 6:51 pm

    It could be worse than “E-car chargers will turn off to prevent blackouts”.

    Imagine the Grid Operator having the power (pun intended) to actually impose involuntary V2G grid support.

    Not only would the hapless EV owner wake up to discover his/her vehicle hadn’t been recharged ready for that essential journey to work, but its battery had actually been drained completely to prevent ICE owners suffering a blackout.

    • Andrew Harding permalink
      September 13, 2021 7:06 pm

      That is a definite possibility, this is why there has been a huge roll out of Smart Meters and why I refused to have one.

      Not that I am planning on buying an EV, but other ‘trivial’ uses of electric power could also be switched off.

      • matt dalby permalink
        September 13, 2021 7:15 pm

        I have also chosen not to have a smart meter, for now, however if/when they become compulsory which is quite likely I’ll have to back down as no one wants to live without electricity.

    • Gamecock permalink
      September 13, 2021 10:09 pm

      “E-car chargers will turn off to prevent blackouts”

      Uhhh . . . isn’t that a blackout?

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        September 14, 2021 9:15 am

        He he. Yes, but apparently we won’t notice so it will be all right.

      • Ian Johnson permalink
        September 14, 2021 10:19 am

        It seems the same as lockdowns to prevent lockdowns.

  15. Robert Christopher permalink
    September 13, 2021 6:59 pm

    No problem, everyone can own two electric cars: one to drive, while the other is charging.

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      September 14, 2021 7:49 am

      There will also need to be backup vehicles for ambulances, police cars, fire engines (with their energy hungry pumps), and space for them to park.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        September 14, 2021 10:53 am

        Chargers for the nomenklatura will be exempt.

  16. markl permalink
    September 13, 2021 7:33 pm

    This and more for unintended consequences and a supposed precautionary principal.

  17. tomo permalink
    September 13, 2021 9:27 pm

    The only EV company that is presently capable of remote controlled charging with “the mothership” deciding if you’re in the right place at the right time is afaik Tesla.

    Cash jobs for electricians….

    But given what appears to be in the chute – whether your street has power is going to be something of a lottery?

  18. pardonmeforbreathing permalink
    September 13, 2021 10:29 pm

    So they really are just making it up as they go along as opposed to only appearing to be doing so…….

  19. Malcolm Skipper permalink
    September 13, 2021 10:39 pm

    Meanwhile, back in March: “What is vehicle-to-grid charging?

    When the technology is eventually rolled out, it will be possible to feed the energy stored in your electric car’s battery back to the grid, otherwise known as the national electricity network. This will help supply homes with power during the hours when demand is highest – often the evening and the early hours of the morning.”

    • pardonmeforbreathing permalink
      September 13, 2021 10:41 pm

      oh! you just snuck that one in ahead of me by one minute! Great minds think alike or is it the fools thing…. 🙂

      • Malcolm Skipper permalink
        September 14, 2021 1:00 pm

        I prefer the great minds, I’m sure you do to 😉

        So the plan is: keep the car on the drive or on the road (if you can); charge in the small hours (cheap); sell back in the morning ‘peak’ (profit 1); recharge during the afternoon (cheap); sell back in the early evening ‘peak’ (profit 2); repeat ad nauseam.

        What is my job? I work from home as a “NG stabiliser”.

  20. pardonmeforbreathing permalink
    September 13, 2021 10:40 pm

    Weren’t we being told by some lunatics quite recently in a puff piece about EV’s that the planet would be saved by sucking all the electrikery out of those EV icons of stupidity when the grid ( or is it gwid) needed it? we really have let the lunatics take control of the asylum.

  21. September 13, 2021 11:02 pm

    Farcical. Best have 2 EVs so you can alternate them, leaving one at home on charge between 11 am and 4pm while you’re out driving the other one to work, shops, leisure etc. 🙄

  22. 1saveenergy permalink
    September 13, 2021 11:09 pm

    Sort of on topic …
    A friend has just had a pacemaker fitted, his consultant/surgeon told him he must not travel in an electric car as the EMF will disrupt the pacemaker !!!

    I can only find one study & that suggests there’s no problem ??

    Anyone know anything ???? thanks.

  23. MikeHig permalink
    September 13, 2021 11:36 pm

    This is puzzling because, from numerous posts on EV forums, users always charge at home during off-peak times anyway. They may well plug the car in when they get home but the charger/car is programmed to only charge at the appropriate times. The tariffs give them every incentive: many are with Octopus and pay only 5p per kWh off-peak.
    Also the majority do not charge for long. It’s only high-milers or those with an occasional long journey that charge to 100%. Generally folk try to run their batteries beween 20% and 80% to preserve performance and many do not drive far enough to need to charge every day.

    So, as someone said earlier, what does the government know that it is not explaining?

    Idau mentioned the load on local cabling and lack of randomisation; perhaps that is their concern?

    Lastly why mandate this so early in the take-up of EVs? It would make more sense if they simply set out the features that have to be incorporated into every new charger, to be activated if needed in future.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 14, 2021 9:12 am

      Because that will all change. With much less reliable nuclear or fossil fuel generation, there will be no off-peak. What remains will be meeting base load on dark, windless nights.

      And if we all do buy EVs, the demand will be far higher than now from 6pm through to 6am but supply will be much less than now on many nights. So there needs to be a mechanism for managing demand. The easiest and least noticeable demand to shut off is EV recharging. At least until you have an emergency at 1am and find your EV is dead.

    • Joe Public permalink
      September 14, 2021 11:24 am

      Octopus’s Agile Tariff gets frequent mentions for its low (off-peak) pricing.

      It gets rather fewer mentions for that tariff’s daytime prices – the ones that’ll hit hard those Green virtue-signallers with un- time-shiftable heat pumps.

      Bishop Hill posted the screen capture on Twitter yesterday:

  24. angech permalink
    September 14, 2021 7:45 am

    On the other hand, 300,000 EV provide a handy little emergency backup source of power?
    Sort of like having a mobile Tesla grid.
    And you get huge money for your electricity when the power is severely restricted.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      September 14, 2021 8:40 am

      “On the other hand, 300,000 EV provide a handy little emergency backup source of power?”
      Are you being facetious?

      • angech permalink
        September 15, 2021 1:11 am

        Just a little, raises some interesting possibilities though.

    • dave permalink
      September 14, 2021 8:50 am

      Just to put it in perspective (although I appreciate the fact that most readers on this site are already realistic):

      Per Capita Annual Electrical Consumption in KWH

      China (1985) 382 (2020) 5,284 . + 1,383%

      UK (1985) 5,297 (2020) 4,500 . – 15%

      World (1985) 2,028 (2020) 3,316 + 64%

      If I were the proverbial Martian, I think I might say to the UK, “You should not plug in those ten million electricity-guzzlers you have planned, until you fix your obviously failing supply situation!” I think I might move on to the Chinese and say, “Are those Brits really as moronic as I think they are? Or do they have “a cunning plan”?”

      • A man of no rank permalink
        September 14, 2021 11:39 am

        dave’s consumption figures are mind blowing. Congratulations go to the Chinese who, in 1985, would have been knee deep in paddy fields. And well done to the UK too, who follow the UN policy of wealth transfer to the letter!

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 14, 2021 9:13 am

      So the wealthy who can afford an EV get yet more money from the poor trying to run a fridge. Yes, that sounds fair and right.

  25. September 14, 2021 7:50 am


    true to a point but as more evs are bought that off peak must disappear. Even charging every few days or whatever adds up as it is a consistent load for hours at a time. Currently high loads are of relatively short duration, e.g. electric cookers used to make dinner and at random times spreads the load. Over load protection can take short duration slight overloads but not long duration slight overloads, as it is load\ time based.
    As I said in an earlier post I think we’ll see more local power cuts, many of which will require calling an engineer out to rectify it.

    • MikeHig permalink
      September 14, 2021 11:15 am

      Iain; quite agree!
      Off-peak is going to be a thing of the past as EV adoption spreads and homes go electric and run water heaters overnight – probably a bigger load per house than average EV consumption.
      It’s the timing that’s a puzzle: why mandate a immediate activation of a feature which is unlikely to be needed for a few years?

  26. September 14, 2021 8:51 am

    It’s as if the BBC have a COP26 PR department within them
    Next Monday 9am Radio4
    “Climate activism: the next generation”
    featuring BirdGirl etc.

  27. Jordan permalink
    September 14, 2021 9:14 am

    “government is now seriously concerned about grid capacity …. more measures to come designed to ration electricity”
    The sentence alludes to two separate things in electricity and gas supply, and it’s important to keep both of them in the picture.
    There can be a shortage of “capacity” in the sense of power (MW), especially in the case of electricity. Shortage of MW capacity is bad enough, but measures might only need to be short-term curtailments of demand to get past periods of peak MW demand (when running out of MW capacity). Also note how MW capacity needs to exceed MW peak demand by a decent margin to provide operating reserve.
    There can be shortage of “capacity” in the sense of energy (MWh), for both electricity and gas. These days, electricity depends heavily on gas, so the shortage will probably exist in both forms of energy supply. Energy shortage is also bad, but it can be much more nasty – when energy shortage starts, it is likely to hang around. It’s not just a matter of getting past periods of peak demand.
    Another thing worth raising. There is quite a lot of price-sensitive demand in the commercial and industrial sector. When energy prices spike-up, certain segments of the C&I market reduces consumption as their owners do not want the risk of selling end-products at a loss. What we are seeing right today in electricity and gas supply is very likely to include a large dash of self-rationing and demand side management. If anybody is feeling uneasy about empty shelves and being unable to source goods as a result of covid restrictions (like the “pingdemic” which continues to haunt us), the present levels of power and gas prices will not be improving matters.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 14, 2021 9:21 am

      In other words, we are getting much more expensive electricity that is going to be rationed.

      Not quite what we were promised.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      September 14, 2021 11:25 am

      Looking at the gas picture I see that December gas has jumped another 12p/therm this morning, getting to 173p/therm. The market is showing signs that could be read as either nearing a peak, or only being half way towards one. Meantime direct industrial use seems to be limited at the moment according to the prevailing view website. Insanely, we are using gas from storage and effectively exporting most of it on the interconnectors to Balgsand and Zeebrugge.

      Meanwhile the day ahead price on EPEX for electricity is £375/MWh, not much of a retreat from today’s record of £400.01/MWh.

  28. Phoenix44 permalink
    September 14, 2021 9:19 am

    Love the caption to the photo – apparently we are going to buy 13.7 million EVs in the next 8.5 years! That’s despite tax rises, rapidly increasing electricity costs and inflation.

  29. Old Grumpus permalink
    September 14, 2021 9:55 am

    Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook was branded a hypocrite after revealing she drives a DIESEL car. Does she know something we don’t?

  30. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    September 14, 2021 9:56 am

    Beware of SMART. Be it either meters or cities.
    SMART stands for –

    The Government has an agenda all of its own.

    Electricity could be saved elsewhere, like outlawing bit coin mining or rationing the number of units per person.
    Which is what price increases effectively are.

    In my part of the country there appears to be an increasing number of local blackouts.
    You’d think they would hurray along with Hinkley except people are beginning to believe this cash cow will never be up and running.
    Just like personal motorized transportation will decline for those less wealthy.

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