In today’s issue:

  • How to solve the energy crisis by yourself, Greek style
  • It takes a long time to fix energy policy
  • Could the Falklands save us again? 

I’m growing ever more worried the failing energy transition will end in blackouts. But what would they really mean for Britain? I asked our readers. Many of you can remember what it was like, after all…

Hi Nick

A few random thoughts triggered by the above article.

I’m old enough to have lived through the power cuts and 3 day weeks in the UK of the 70’s. In fact, I almost got arrested for working through the night with lights on, but managed to talk my way out of it. It was all a pain in the neck.

I now live in Greece and power cuts are a part of everyday life. 

Throughout the year they can occur during the day as they disconnect people from the grid to work on the power lines, e.g. about 8 hours. They can occur because a transformer blows up, e.g. about 4 hours. They can occur in winter because of lightning strikes on power lines, or high winds blowing trees across power lines, e.g. from a few seconds to several hours. They have no effect on my life whatsoever. 

My philosophy on life is very simple. I control whatever I can control and what I can’t control I deal with. Clearly I cannot control power cuts but I can deal with them.

I bought two deep discharge 12 V 200 Ah batteries and two combined smart battery chargers/12 V DC to 230 V AC inverters. 

One battery/inverter pair powers both my computer system and my TV system. The other runs the electrical part of my central heating system, i.e. controller and pumps. Both will run for around 10 hours, spanning the longest power cuts. 

When there is mains power the chargers keep the batteries fully charged. When the mains fails they automatically switch to the inverters in fractions of a second causing no noticeable drop out in power. I have heat and something to do whatever happens.

I am at a total loss to understand how a smart meter can save electricity? If I want to use my computer for a few hours, it will consume the same electricity whether I have a smart meter or not.  If I want to watch TV for a couple of hours it will consume the same electricity whether I have a smart meter or not. 

The only thing that saves electricity is a change of behaviour. I could look at the smart meter, wince and turn off my computer or TV, but that is reducing my quality of life. It is possible to make changes that don’t adversely affect my quality of life, but I don’t need a smart meter to do that.

For example, I have a solar panel that heats my water for a large part of the year, so I am not using an immersion heater. 

I have a split meter system, conventional not smart, that charges a different rate at low demand times during the night, like the old Economy 7, so I use appliances like my dishwasher and my washing machine during the low cost hours. This sort of change saves me money but doesn’t reduce my quality of life.



If I’m right about the risk of blackouts, personal solutions to the national energy crisis will become common in Britain too. And elsewhere.

According to a Deutsche Welle TV documentary I watched last year, diesel generator sales are through the roof in Germany. Small businesses don’t want their lights going out. Vets and small manufacturing companies risk severe injuries if they do. And so businesses and professionals are getting their hands on backup power.

But I don’t think large-scale industry can handle such intermittent and unreliable power.

My contacts in the power industry in Australia claim that many large businesses have pulled investments because Australia’s electricity supply is experiencing fluctuations in frequency. This does damage to large machinery that’s difficult to ascertain or blame on power companies. It’s a hidden crisis. One I suspect is playing out in the UK too.

If you’re inspired by W’s D-I-Y solutions approach to blackouts, you might want to see this from my friend John Butler. It’s the retirement equivalent. A D-I-Y approach to securing your financial future.

This reader took a stab at analysing the political blowback from failed energy policy:


As a child of the 70’s, whose school days were massively impacted by the 3-day week, as well as seeing what we had to eat radically change owing to the money from my father’s job dropping, this forced my mother to take up part-time work to keep food on the table.

So, subconsciously, voting for Thatcher was almost an act of vengeance on those who had caused me and my parents so much grief.

What would blackouts do to politics in the UK …. As the current system is patently broken … the metropolitan elites are struggling to hold onto power … the, “vote for none of the above” noises becoming louder and louder … who knows, but it will not look pretty.

I fear an English first nationalism, which will tell the other 3 regions to buzz off and pay their way as England cannot/will not continue to fun their “extravagant” freebies.

What is also totally missing from this conversation is, all these attempts to reduce power demand are going to be thrown out the window by the enormous increases in demand for power from all the data centres required to deliver the new AI-driven world.

The problem will be, AI reduces jobs, pushing up the welfare bill, so unless you can massively increase output and profits from the industry and hence increase tax revenue … how will governments find the money for the welfare costs …. Tax the robots and they “might” go on strike … it all gets way too dystopian!

Well, there’s my 3 pence worth.



The team is working on a more optimistic scenario. The UK stands to benefit more than any other country from AI. For the same reason that UK exports overtook Japan, the Netherlands and France to become the fourth largest in the world in 2022.

More on that soon.

This reader points out that blackouts don’t occur in isolation:

Hi Nick

I was 15 when Thatcher won in 1979. Whilst blackouts were certainly an issue, there were a multitude of problems, inflation was still high, industrial unrest was significant (the steel workers strike, the winter of discontent and the perpetual joke that was British Leyland spring to mind), unemployment was high and rising and there was still the bitterly shameful recent memory of Britain seeking a loan from the IMF.

Yet, Thatcher was incredibly unpopular in the early 1980s, her radicalism was taking time, making things worse before they got better. Patience was running out. I don’t think there is any doubt she would have lost the general election in 1983 if it were not for the Falklands War.

I look back on the Falklands as the last war this country fought where we were unequivocally in the right, in sharp contrast to our subsequently morally dubious efforts.  Now, as the father of a 14 year old boy, I worry about the current crop of spineless, lily-livered, yellow bellied politicians seeking a foreign policy adventure as a diversion from domestic difficulties, very much in the way Galtieri’s Argentinian junta did in 1982.      

My solution? The reintroduction of conscription, although it should be restricted to the sons and daughters of members of Parliament.

Keep up the good work!


I wonder what war they’ll drum up this time…

Ironically enough, the Falklands might save us again. A lot of oil has been discovered nearby…

Hi Nickolai

Most of the green laws passed are wish unfulfilled and unlikely ever to be achieved.

Take EVs, there are thousands of unsold cheap Chinese EVs clogging ports such as Rotterdam and Antwerp. 

Smart meters may well go the way of smart motorways when people realise that the easiest way to reduce demand is to turn off all those with smart meters. It happened in Texas in the example you quoted.

Governments can pass all the well intentioned laws they want but the public act with their feet and their wallets.

You might note that cutting off Russian gas & oil was the most stupid act as a response to their invasion. 

The price of energy shot up, the Russians found other markets (probably including the west through third parties) and have been filling their coffers as a result. To harm Russia, the West should have kept buying Russian and racked up supply from other sources to lower the market price. Cheap energy would hurt the major suppliers such as Russia rather than reinforcing their war effort.


I was asked about the Russian sanctions when I appeared on GB News. I suggested we were shooting ourselves in the foot by sanctioning the energy we need. The host furiously accused me of wanting to surrender to Russia. I haven’t been invited back. Ironic given GB News’ carefully crafted image.

Those of you capable of a more nuanced view about energy markets need to see this. An opportunity to turn the tables on Russia by outdoing them, not sanctioning them.

Until next time,

Nick Hubble
Editor, Fortune & Freedom