Thursday, 8 March 2018

Gas price crisis heightened by government complacency

The recent Arctic surge across Europe drove wholesale gas prices to levels not seen for many years. Britain was then hit by the snowfalls resulting from storm Emma hitting the cold air over these islands, increasing the demand for gas. National Grid was forced to issue its first deficit warning for eight years, threatening to hobble British industry.

The situation was foreseen by The Guardian and Private Eye magazine last summer. Decisions taken then by Centrica and by the Conservative government's refusal to listen to expert opinion calling for a continuing gas storage facility mean that not only was Centrica (and down the line, British consumers) held to ransom by gas traders but also that these price hikes could recur next time there is a "beast from the east". The Conservative government's answer will clearly be to increase shale gas exploitation.

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