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Keeping warm this week

Posted on: 26/02/2018

With severe weather warnings in place and the ‘Beast from the East’ weather system on the horizon, I thought it may be of interest to let you know what we are doing to make sure we keep the gas flowing so communities across Wales and the south west of England stay safe and warm.

In terms of the amount of gas we’re transporting, we’re expecting demand to be 50% up on what we would usually expect at this time of year. Every day we’ll be supplying 375GWh of energy. This energy will be used by our customers in a variety of ways; in homes for central heating, warm water and cooking – and the same in businesses, while some industrial customers have their own gas fired generators, providing secure, cost effective electricity, as well as heat.   

The gas network is reliable and resilient, even in the worst weather, but we’re taking precautions so we can continue to deliver for our customers. Practically speaking, we’re making sure we have all the equipment and materials we need at our strategically located stores around our network.

Taking the nosediving temperatures into account, if in the course of our work we have to turn the gas supply to homes off and we don’t think we’ll be able to get the gas back on quickly, we’ll be providing additional support – particularly for people in the most vulnerable situations. We’re also boosting numbers in our call centre team so whatever the weather throws at us we can respond to phone calls and social media enquiries quickly.

Our network will also be playing a central role in supporting renewable energy and keeping the lights on. Today, across the UK, gas fired power stations are taking the strain, delivering 15GW of electricity (meeting more than 32% of demand). For our part, we’ve got almost 450MW of ‘peaking generation’ – rapid reaction plant that comes on and off to  generate electricity to support intermittent renewables, and more than 800MW of ‘baseload generation’ – plant that is on and generating electricity for long periods of time.  

I hope you find this update of interest – and it reassures you that we are doing everything we can to keep the gas flowing to heat homes, power businesses, and keep people safe and warm.



Chris Clarke

Wales & West Utilities Director of Asset Management and HS&E