Thursday, 7 January 2010
WHEN WILL WE HAVE A GAS SUPPLY CRISIS IN THIS COLD SPELL?
An interesting problem with some modern gas boilers has come to my attention in the past 24 hrs as the 'Big Freeze' continues. As mains gas pressure drops, as it did yesterday, many boilers close down and do not fire up again. Fine if you are at home but leaving an empty house with bolier setting on low heating as you jet away from temperatures of -17C could lead to some problems awaiting your return!
Despite this Government being in power for 13 years, it has failed dismally to address strategic gas supplies that are needed for electricity generation, home heating and cooking. We have only about 14 days worth of reserve stored in Centrica's Rough Field in the N. Sea and in a number of underground salt storage areas in Yorkshire. Most sensible countries aim for 80 days of strategic gas reserves and the Chinese set themselves a goal to have 90-100 days of oil and gas reserves.
'Sound- bite' Government and 'the just in time' mentality could give us all a major headache in the next few days or so. While the media has been concentrating on the'white stuff' with all its pretty pics, how many of us realise that there was a crisis in late December when electricity generators had to cut back on gas use to maintain mains pressure to householders? We are now in the middle of at least two weeks of some of the lowest temperatures recorded in the UK for over 20 years and what is striking is that almost the whole country is affected, unlike in normal hard winters.
Gas main pressure went down yesterday again and I have a pessimistic thought that our strategic gas reserves are going to be found inadequate. Should the worst happen look out for power cuts and your boilers and gas cookers not having that welcoming blue flame burning to heat your house or cook your food. What will be a Labour Government's chances in an election in a few months time if this happens? As low as the temperature at RAF Benson?