Many banks and other leading institutions in the United Kingdom have been holding regular talks with one another and revisiting plans about using less energy-intensive offsite locations or encouraging their employees to work from home, according to a report from UK Finance, a trade association representing the country's banking and financial sectors.
Some financial institutions in the U.K. are studying the experience of South Africa's finance sector, which is now treating rolling power cuts as a normal part of business. (Related: New British Prime Minister proposes 200 billion pound spending program to subsidize UK's soaring energy bills for two years.)
"All firms, regardless of size, are paying close attention," said Andrew Rogan, director of operational resilience at UK Finance, in an interview with Bloomberg. "There is no sense of panic, just everyone is making sure that their ducks are in a row."
The renewed focus on the state of Britain's energy crisis comes amid fears that more power outages could occur as winter nears. These fears are particularly pronounced in Europe, whose energy needs were throttled after they imposed sanctions on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. Russia, in turn, has been holding the continent's energy supply hostage in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
The eastern parts of London narrowly avoided a blackout this summer, when energy supplies at the end of July were nearly unable to keep up with demand. Fortunately, the U.K. was able to avoid a blackout by buying more electricity from Belgium for a massive markup.
According to UK Finance, major banks and financial institutions already have generators and additional power sources which can typically supply them with electricity for at least 72 hours. These same firms are also considering decentralizing their operations in London, Essex, Surrey and elsewhere to mitigate the effects of localized blackouts.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of the firm eEnergy, noted that in the past three months it has seen a "huge increase" in financial institutions coming to the company for help in becoming more efficient with their energy usage.
"Energy prices have almost met the same level as rent costs," said Sinclair. "We're installing smart meters and identifying whether lights are being left on at night and whether the air conditioning units are too much." The firm is also advising customers to reduce their reliance on the nationwide power grid by installing onsite battery storage and off-grid solar panels.
Banks all over Europe are also preparing to implement energy rationing protocols. Many are preparing for possible power outages this winter by getting backup generators ready. They claim this is necessary to avoid shutting down bank operations like ATM transactions should the power grid go down.
"The banking system is part of other systems," noted Gianluca Pescaroli, a professor in operational continuity and disaster resilience at University College London and a consultant on power outages. "My main concern is the cascading effects on failures to ATMs or cashless transactions. Similarly, the dependencies banks have on other services such as the internet."
In Switzerland, investment bank and financial services firm UBS Group AG has decided to allow bigger fluctuations in the temperature in its offices in a bid to cut power consumption. In Denmark, banks are setting office thermostats to lower temperatures and giving staff blankets to help cope with the cold.
In Germany, Deutsche Bank AG told its employees it was cutting back on air conditioning usage and turning off hot water in its offices. It is also switching off most interior branch lighting and cutting back on illuminated outdoor advertising at night.
Learn more about the state of energy supplies in Europe at EnergySupply.news.
Watch this episode of the "Health Ranger Report" as Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, talks to Michael Yon about Western Europe's self-destruction through its "green" energy policies.