The Guardian recently reported on what caused the UK energy crisis.
Here in Guernsey, gas customers have also recently been warned of potential price increases in the wake of wholesale gas cost rises.
Gas prices in the UK have more than quadrupled over the last year to highs of 180 pence per therm, from around 40p/th this time last year.
The UK’s energy system has been plunged into chaos by a perfect storm of market forces which looks set to impact industry and homeowners.
Amongst many things, there is the fear that households will be face unaffordable bills for heating and cooking, as we head into winter.
Post-Covid bounce back
In 2021 China’s post-Covid increase has coincided with an increase in demand across Asia and Europe.
As economies begin to recover from the pandemic, countries across the northern hemisphere, which experienced a long, cold winter in 2020-21 that depleted gas storage levels, are now looking to secure supplies.
As shipments of gas have turned from Europe towards China, flows of pipeline gas to Europe from Russia have failed to make up the shortfall.
Why is this so bad for the UK?
The global crisis is particularly bad news as around half of the UK’s electricity is generated by burning fossil fuel in gas-fired power plants.
Ageing nuclear power plants have been forced to undertake unplanned outages for maintenance, a cable used to import electricity from France has been shut down after a fire, plus, it’s not been a windy summer for the turbines to play their part.
Britain has been forced to temporarily fire up coal power stations to plug this gap.
The UK also relies heavily on gas for home heating and cooking. Yet, the UK has some of the lowest gas storage capabilities in Europe, leaving the market uniquely exposed.
The UK may not run out of gas but running out of affordable gas, is a problem.
What can I do to avoid high gas prices?
Switching from gas to electric heating will help reduce both your bills and your carbon emissions.
Here in Guernsey, gas is the most expensive way to heat. It will cost the average household using gas heating over 30% less to heat their home with electricity, which translates into big savings over time. And as a gas boiler loses efficiency over time, this cost will rise.
The Liquified Petrolum Gas (LPG) used in Guernsey also produces over 60% more carbon than electricity, meaning that over a year one home could stop over 3 tonnes of carbon from entering our atmosphere by switching to electric.