What are blackouts and why might they happen this winter?
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A simple device described as a lifeline for households having their power supply cut during emergency winter blackouts has been unveiled. National Grid has not ruled out the prospect of wiping out energy supply during the coldest and darkest nights of 2023 – in January and February – but have admitted it’ll be a worst case scenario, and one that is unlikely to happen. But in the event things do take a turn for the worst – there’s one gadget, a portable power station, that may just keep the lights on. As gas prices remain staggeringly high on the global market, fears are mounting that Russian President Vladimir Putin will deprive Europe of more gas this winter.
Concerns have also been voiced that Britain may be unable to shore up sufficient electricity imports from the mainland in the period where demand will be highest.
EcoFlow’s RIVER 2 Portable Power Station series, which is being viewed as a means to keeping homes afloat during cold, and dark winter peak times when power is out comes with a hefty catch – and that’s the fact it costs between £269 to £749.
Households and businesses across the UK are staring down the barrel of planned power cuts to balance the grid and make up for the potential shortfall under National Grid’s emergency winter plan. National Grid warned of that in the “unlikely event” that the company fails to secure gas supplies, consumers could be left without power for “pre-defined periods” during the day.
The utility company responsible for the distribution of the emergency energy plan said households in different parts of the country will be notified a day in advance of three-hour blocks of time, during which their power would be cut off in a bid to total energy consumption by 5 percent.
The firm has released a three-product line of entry-level portable power stations under 1kWh (a watt-hour is the measurement of energy for a specific period of time [an hour]), ranging from £269 for the standard RIVER 2 to £749 for the 800Wh Pro model. According to EcoFlow, the innovations are perfect for “keeping appliances running during winter blackouts”.
The River 2 Pro is reportedly capable of powering a phone, a laptop, and a CPAP machine simultaneously for up to seven hours during an emergency or a sudden blackout, the company has said. It can also power fridges or radios even when a house if shut off from the main grid.
Ryan Xing, Head of UK and Europe at EcoFlow said: “As global energy costs increase, energy insecurity is at the forefront of people’s minds. At home in the UK, National Grid is now warning that Brits are likely to experience rolling power cuts this winter.
“Generators or alternative power solutions are vital to keeping household basics such as the fridge, phone or radio running during prolonged blackouts.
“For those looking for long-term solutions to create and store energy independently of providers, the key is to find a renewable system to match your average household energy consumption.
“A good smart system will be fully integrated into the home, and also allow you to store the excess energy produced for future use, meaning it should more than match the individual or family’s needs.
Bruce Wang, CEO of EcoFlow, said: “With the current uncertain economic and environmental outlook, we want to make clean, portable energy accessible to everyone, everywhere.
“The EcoFlow RIVER 2 series makes this possible, offering practical, flexible and affordable energy solutions for adventures in the great outdoors or during power outages at home.”
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While portable power station technology is still in its early stages, and for that reason far pricier than petrol-powered generators, portable power stations are essentially an offshoot of a USB power bank which people normally use to charge phones or when away from a mains power source.
Portable power banks are essentially a larger version, which can be used to power more heavy-duty appliances. Most portable power stations come equipped with a wide range of power outlets, meaning multiple appliances can be powered up at the same time.
EcoFlow’s River Pro series, consisting of the RIVER 2, RIVER 2 Max and RIVER 2 Pro portable power stations are powered by LFP batteries, which are reportedly one of the safest on the market and provide a reliable output, capable of enduring more extreme temperatures.
EcoFlow’s River Pro units are will be available to purchase from the EcoFlow Store and Amazon from November 9.
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