Oil, coal, freight, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the European gas and power markets are increasingly connected in a global chain that heavily influences the availability of gas, our principle source of energy.
There are gas market arrangements in place to help co-ordinate a market response (also known as a demand side response) and reduce the likelihood of emergency procedures being required. One of these is more commonly known as a Gas Balancing Alert (GBA).
This is a signal issued by National Grid to the market to indicate that demand reduction is required in an attempt to avert an emergency. In the winter of 2009/10 there were four GBA’s declared by National Grid.
If Gas Balancing Alert does not reduce demand by enough, then a Gas Supply Emergency may be declared. When a Gas Supply Emergency is declared, gas transporters will contact large businesses supplied on an interruptible contract to tell them to stop taking gas.
The more prepared your business is for a Gas Supply Emergency; the easier it will be to minimise disruption. We've produced a free guide about Security of Supply, which you can order a copy of, or download an electronic version.
What action is E.ON taking?
- As a responsible company we have plans in place in case of difficulties, these include:
- Making our oil-fired power station at the Isle of Grain in Kent available
- Our Holford gas storage facility in Cheshire is now available for commercial use
- Ensuring our stocks of coal to our coal fired power stations are at a level to satisfy our expected generation
- Investigating the possibility of running the Corby gas-fired power (a joint venture with ESBI) on distillate
- Continuing to work with our sister companies in the E.ON Group to explore ways in which, should there be issues over UK gas supply, we could free up European gas for the UK market
- Growing the number of our large energy customers on flexible products, which allows them to sell gas back to us in times of high prices and demand
- Increasing our gas storage capacity by developing storage facilities in the salt caverns of Holford, Cheshire. Work started in August 2005 and once completed the 162 million cubic meter development will be able to withdraw gas at a rate of 16mcm/day, equivalent to the domestic needs of around 3.5m homes. This will make it one of the fastest churn facilities in the UK, allowing greater flexibility in terms of quickly moving large volumes of gas in and out of 'the National Transmission System (NTS)'.