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Weather & Science

As UK Bakes, City ‘Heat Islands’ Are Straining the Energy Grid

  • Heatwave is boosting air conditioning demand in offices, homes
  • That’s happening with energy prices much higher than usual
A pedestrian crosses Millennium Bridge in London, June 17. 

A pedestrian crosses Millennium Bridge in London, June 17. 

Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

The heatwave scorching London and southern England is threatening to worsen an energy crisis in a country where homes and businesses are struggling with gas and power bills.

High energy costs are fairly unusual in the summer in the UK because there aren’t that many homes running air conditioners and sucking in electricity. But the current situation is far from normal: British gas prices are triple the five-year average for the time of year, meaning any usage will be much more expensive than usual.