Fire hits British power imports adding to demand and price pressures

A fire at a National Grid power facility has cut power capacity by up to 2 gigawatts, further squeezing electricity supply and pushing prices up to almost record highs. The blaze forced National Grid to evacuate staff from the site at Sellindge, Kent, where a high-voltage power cable brings electricity from France to a converter station.

It comes at a time when the UK faces high demand increasing prices after a global gas market surge combined with reduced capacity caused by power plant outages and low wind speeds.
Reuters reported that day-ahead British power prices jumped almost 19% following the incident at the IFA1 interconnector site at Sellindge, Kent.

Analysts say that the fire could prove to be a highly significant event, with the possibility of an extended outage keeping the IFA site out of action until mid-October amid fears of wider power capacity problems during the winter if there is a combination of increased demand from cold temperatures and reduced supply due to low wind.

The IFA2 interconnector, which is a second link between Britain and France, was not affected by the incident.

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