You will have noticed if you regularly walk past our turbines that they haven’t been turning for quite some time If you look at the power generation page on our website you will see that Reading Hydro hasn’t generated any electricity since 1st July. You can also see from the river conditions data on our website that the Environment Agency river flow sensor at Reading Bridge currently reads just over 3 cubic metres per second (m3/s). This is less than 10% of the average river flow. At this very low flow rate, the Environment Agency cannot allow Reading Hydro to use water to generate electricity, because they must prioritise providing water to the fish passes and the weir gates.
We knew that in some summers there would be periods of no electricity generation because of low river flow rates. This was taken into account in the estimate of average annual generation, and resulting income, in our business plan. But the shortage of water this year is extreme. 2022 has, to date, been the driest year in England since 1976: the Thames region has experienced the driest July since 1911, and we are now officially in a drought.
We’ll keep you posted as conditions change.