Up to 2 million people join miners' 'lights out' protest

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The Independent Online
A FALL in the power required from the national grid last night suggested that up to 2 million people turned off light bulbs in support of the miners, writes Andrew Gliniecki.

The National Grid Company reported an 'accelerated rate of fall of 200 megawatts' at 9pm, the time designated by Roy Lynk, president of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers, for the protest. The company said that the fall presented no problem because it represented less than 1 per cent of the 30,000 megawatts being generated at the time. 'Demand is falling at this time of night anyway,' a spokeswoman said.

Had demand fallen dramatically, it would have been possible to divert excess electricity to pump storage stations where water is propelled uphill so it can be used to generate hydro-electric power later. Dramatic fluctuations in power required from the national grid usually involve increases in demand after television programmes, when lights and kettles are turned on. The biggest pick-up - 2,800 megawatts - was after Germany beat England in the semi-final of the 1990 World Cup.