Back up coal plants fired up again as blackout threats loom – live updates

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National Grid has begun warming up its coal-fired power stations for the third time this week as it battles with an energy squeeze brought on by the cold weather.

The three Drax plants in North Yorkshire will be kept ready as a contingency plan should the power network operator need to bolster energy supplies at peak times later today.

The National Grid’s Electricity System Operator (ESO) spokesman said: “This notification is not confirmation that these units will be used on Thursday, but that they will be available to the ESO, if required.

“The ESO as a prudent system operator has these tools for additional contingency to operate the network as normal.”

National Grid stood down its power plants both times earlier this week before they were used.

It issued a similar call on coal units in mid-December amid a bout of grey, still and cold weather. However, it stood them down shortly after.

Read the latest updates below.

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