01/03/2018 10:43 GMT | Updated 01/03/2018 16:04 GMT

National Grid Warns Of Gas Shortages As UK Is Gripped By Freezing Weather

Experts say there's currently a 9% shortfall - but households shouldn't be affected

National Grid has warned that the UK does not currently have enough gas to meet demand today (Thursday) as heavy snow and freezing temperatures sweep across the country

The UK’s power network operator issued a “gas deficit warning” to the market at around 5.45am this morning, asking suppliers to make more gas available. 

National Grid’s latest forecast for the day, issued at 10am, predicted a shortfall of around 37m cubic metres - around 9% of expected demand, according to European gas market analyst Tom Marzec-Manser. 

But the government has urged homeowners to “carry on cooking”, despite the deficit. 

“I have spoken to National Grid this morning and we are in constant contact to monitor the gas supply throughout this extreme weather,” said energy minister Claire Perry.  

“So do carry on using your gas heating and cooking meals as normal.”

Experts have also reassured the public that they are unlikely to be affected by shortages. 

“There is no threat to supply to homeowners,” explained Marzec-Manser, who works for commodity price agency ICIS. 

Instead, industries and companies that consume the most gas will be the ones to feel the effects. 

PA Wire/PA Images
The market was 37m cubic metres - around 9% short - of demand this morning 

Marzec-Manser said: “If the situation arises that more supply cannot be incentivised by purchasing gas and we need to trim demand, it’s the industrial level which will first be paid to not consume gas.” 

A spokesperson for National Grid said: “National gas demand today is high and due to the extreme weather conditions, there have been gas supply losses overnight.

“At 5.45am this morning we issued a ‘Gas Deficit Warning’ to the market. This is an indication to the market that we’d like more gas to be made available to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the national gas network.

“We are in communication with industry partners and are closely monitoring the situation,” they added. 

The news comes as Storm Emma and a freezing weather front nicknamed the “Beast from the East” gripped the UK with bitter temperatures and heavy snow, leading the Met Office to issue a series of red weather warnings. 

Several road closures are in force across the UK, while trains and flights have also been hit by delays and cancellations.

Meanwhile, hundreds schools have closed their gates for another day to stop parents, teachers students from battling poor road conditions.