What are Rota Load Disconnections (RLD)?

What are Rota Load Disconnections (RLD)?

If the National Grid and government can’t generate enough electricity to meet the predicted demand, they may need to carry out a Rota Load Disconnection (RLD) - also known as planned power cuts (blackouts). It means if the grid has an electricity shortage the available power would need to be redistributed across the country leading to some areas having short, planned emergency power cuts. To do this, a series (or a rota) of planned interruptions could happen to the regional electricity supply to households and businesses. Should this worst case scenario happen, then households could expect to be without power for about 3 hours at a time.

Why wouldn’t the National Grid have enough electricity?

Although Britain’s electricity network is one of the most reliable in the world, it's not completely self-sufficient when it comes to electricity generation. The National Grid relies on electricity and gas from Europe to top up our energy supply. The energy markets in Europe have been disrupted by the war in the Ukraine, the conflict in the Middle East and higher demand following the reopening of the world post-Covid, meaning there’s a shortage of gas. If other electricity sources like nuclear, coal and wind can’t make up this shortfall then a Rota Load Disconnection could take place. This is more likely if temperatures fall sharply and the government and National Grid are unable to generate enough electricity or import enough electricity and gas from Europe.

How will I know if a Rota Load Disconnection is happening?

The government will notify people in advance of an upcoming Rota Load Disconnection event through the national media. If RLD happens they could affect households across the country, although not at the same time. The government will activate an emergency response and communicate the plans widely across all media channels. The country is split into ‘blocks’ which are given a letter to identify each one. Knowing your ‘block letter’ (sometimes known as an 'alpha identifier') allows you to find out when a possible event will take place and if it will affect you. You’ll find the block letter on your electricity bill. You can also check what your block letter is by typing in your postcode on our block letter search page or at powercut105.com.

Who’s protected from Rota Load Disconnections?

The government has identified sites that are ‘protected’ from Rota Load Disconnections. These vital infrastructure sites need to have their electricity supply maintained. Protected sites include transport links, telecom sites, hospitals and food manufacturing.

How can I prepare for a Rota Load Disconnection event

There are ways you can prepare for an event. Here are our suggestions for what to do in the run up to an emergency power cut:

  • Check that your neighbours (particularly the elderly and vulnerable) know what’s happening and when.

  • Keep a torch handy, with spare batteries - it’s much safer than candles.

  • Charge devices like phones, laptops and batteries.

  • Keep blankets and warm clothing ready.

  • Fill a flask with boiled water for hot drinks and a hot water bottle to help you stay warm.

  • Leave a light on so you know when power is back on.

Remember - if you have a gas cooker, the electronic ignition won't work during a power cut so have a lighter available, just in case you need it. You can find more information on where to get help, how to prepare and what to do when the power is off on our website.

Do you need help?

At E.ON Next we want to help customers as much as possible should the National Grid carry out Rota Load Disconnections. You can find support via the Priority Services Register (PSR). It’s a free support service for eligible people who may be vulnerable.

If you require a continuous supply of electricity for medical reasons, seek medical advice from your local health service provider or by calling 111.

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Published 25/06/2024