Brits should ditch their social media campaigns and public statements of support for Ukraine if they are unwilling to face blackouts this winter, warned the head of a leading coalition of green energy firms and businesses.
Lord Turner told Times Radio that people should not treat the prospect of blackouts as “absolutely terrifying,” and that it would be “pretty pathetic” not to continue supporting Ukraine in the face of power shortages.
In his view, blackouts were a price worth paying in the war against a “fascist dictatorship.”
He said: “Frankly, if you’re not able to face that, don’t tweet a Ukrainian flag and say that you’ve got sympathy and support for the Ukrainian people.”
Adair Turner, who is the chair of the Energy Transitions Commission, revealed he had lived through blackouts five decades ago during the 1972 coal strikes, and that the general public had carried on despite the challenges.
He said: “We had blackouts on a regular basis and we managed to survive.”
Turner: Blackout risk is a price worth paying
Turner’s comments follow the latest winter outlook from the National Grid published earlier this month, which predicts the UK should have sufficient supplies to meet its energy needs this winter.
However, the energy body warned in a worst case scenario with a Russian supply squeeze, no supplies available from Europe, and a colder than expected winter, there was the possibility of three-hour blackout periods in some of the coldest, darkest evenings in January.
He believed this was a necessary risk for the UK as it stands with Western allies against Russian aggression following the country’s invasion of Ukraine eight months ago.
He argued: “If we had to face one or two evenings in January and February, where on a pre announced basis, we have to do without electricity – I think it would be pretty pathetic if we consider that something that we are unable to face.”
Gas and oil prices have climbed to historic highs this year, while the prospect of a full-scale squeeze on Russian supplies into the continent has raised the prospect of an energy crunch.
This has seen energy bills rise to record highs despite massive support packages pledged by the Government, raising the risk vulnerable households could still end up in fuel poverty and with cold homes this winter.
However, Turner suggested the West had to confront Russia’s ability to influence wholesale markets, even if it meant supply shortages.
He said: “Let’s be clear, we are engaged in a war. We are not fighting that war, that is being fought by the extraordinarily brave Ukrainian men and women. But we are engaged in a war and it’s a war for democracy, and against a fascist dictatorship.”