UK Government – Energy Bill Discount Scheme: Customer Update

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Posted on: 

13 October 2022

Electricity Supply Emergency Code

The National Grid, who operate the UK’s electricity system, released its Winter Outlook Report which outlined a range of scenarios that could affect the UK over the coming Winter period. The Electricity Supply Emergency Code (ESEC) was highlighted as a precautionary measure in the ‘unlikely’ event that the UK experiences insufficient gas supplies to power homes and businesses across the country.
What is Rota Load Disconnection?

The Government’s ESEC procedure outlines what is referred to as Rota Load Disconnection to make sure that during an energy emergency, such as a shortage of power, the nation’s electricity is distributed as equally and fairly as possible.

The purpose of Rota Load Disconnection is to reduce the demand for electricity to match the level of electricity generation that is available. To control the use of electricity during these emergency periods, the country is divided by block areas (known as Alpha Identifiers) which would be switched off in turn, for about three hours, according to the rota.

What is my Alpha Identifier?

We will confirm your Rota Block Disconnection Alpha Identifier by letter which will be sent by email directly to the billing contact we hold on your SmartestEnergy Business account.

You can also check your Alpha Identifier and local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) via the find operator tool at

How will this impact my business?

We understand that the threat of a blackout or power outage will cause concern for our customers but must stress that this is a worst-case scenario. If the UK does suffer a power shortage, Rota Load Disconnection could be imposed on your block area, and we would advise taking reasonable steps to prepare a contingency plan that will minimise the impact to your business.

How long would I be without power?

The rota outlines that your business would lose power supply for a period of up to 3 hours per slot. At a low level of emergency, this could be a few times in a week. In a high shortage of supply, there may be several outage slots.

More customer FAQs…

If we have not contacted you to confirm your Alpha Identifier, your postcode might not have been allocated one by your local Distribution Network Operator (DNO), or we might have an incorrect postcode. In any case, you can check your Alpha Identifier and DNO via the find operator tool at

As with any power loss, you need a backup plan that minimises the impact to your business and that prioritises the health and safety of anyone on site. Whilst advance notice should be given of the rota outages, you should designate a safe area or route from the premises, with the aid of emergency lighting, and communicate this with staff and customers.

You should also aim to safely power down any heavy or sensitive electrical equipment, such as manufacturing machinery, and ensure that sufficient precautions are taken by trained individuals for when the power is restored.

The schedule of Rota Load Disconnections will be covered by the media and published through National & Local TV and/or Radio Stations, there will be clear announcements made utilising the Alpha Identifier block letters. It is important that you remain informed of such coverage and be ready with a contingency plan.

Some businesses, public services, and other organisations are deemed protected sites and will be placed on the Rota Load Disconnection protected list. This means they will be given priority power supply in the event of shortage. They include hospitals, airports, docks, army, manufacturing plants, water, telecommunications etc. These sites have been assigned the Alpha Identify ‘V’.

Customers will need to contact their local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) if they believe they fall under any of the classifications of a protected customer.

It depends on the type of supply meter you have installed, most will automatically switch back on once the supply becomes available, others may require you to manually push a reconnect button, typically located on the front of your meter.

We would recommend that you speak to your business insurance company to check if any losses would be covered under your policy.

You will only be charged for the amount of electricity based on your meter readings. If you do not consume due to a planned power cut scenario, you will not be charged for electricity during the outage.

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