National Grid warns UK’s gas supplies could run out due to freezing cold weather: ‘It’s looking tight’

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The National Grid has issued a “gas deficit warning” over fears supplies could run out as temperatures plummet across the country.

The operator of the UK’s power network issued the guidance at 5am on Thursday as supply slipped 48 million cubic metres short of demand. 

A spokesperson said the notice was a “first stage” warning to say “it’s looking tight”, which will remain in place until 5am on Friday. 

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The operator also asked industrial customers to use less gas in a bid to shore up the supply. According to the latest forecast, there is a shortfall of 50 million cubic metres.

“National gas demand today is high and due to the extreme weather conditions, there have been gas supply losses overnight,” the operator said in a statement. “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.”

It comes as bitterly cold temperatures and heavy snowfall grip the UK as Storm Emma hits. 

Schools around the country remained closed on Thursday as Britain braced for another day of sub-zero temperatures and “blizzard-like” conditions.

Temperatures plunged to lows of -6C overnight, and the Met Office warned it could feel as cold as -11C  during the day as winds continue to strengthen.

The Met Office escalated a heavy snow weather warning for south-west England and south Wales to red – its highest level – meaning “widespread damage, travel and power disruption and risk to life is likely” from 3pm.