Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Cold Weather means more gas consumption

The gas demand table on the National Grid's website is slightly misleading. There are two types of gas consumption that are easily distinguished between. One is the use of gas through Local Delivery Zones (mainly normal heating and cooking gas for domestic, commercial and small industrial users). The second is that directly attached to the National Transmission System - big users including the electricity generators.

It is possible, but a bit of work, to separate out the figures for the local delivery zones. This show the real volatility in consumption linked to temperature.

Today's estimated demand total is about 370 mcm. The direct attach is about 50 mcm/d at the moment.

Recent LDZ demands have been Tues 295, Mon (Boxing Day) 252, Xmas Sunday (229), XMas Eve Sat (209), Fri 215, Thur 235, Weds 246, Tues 246, Mon 274. The fact that this can swing from 209 through to 295 over 4 days shows its volatility. Most of this is not price sensitive as they are on long term contracts.

If this week's weather had hit next week we would be looking at demands of around 400 mcm. That would seriously stretch the supply system, but it should be able to cope for 3 days at least.

The Weather forecasts are predicting the end of this cold spell at the weekend. There are possibilities of another cold spell next week, however.

There is a debate on Gas Supplies in the second week of January. Whether this will coincide with consequential problems depends as usual entirely on the weather.


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