Friday 8 January 2010

More rewriting of history

If we believe what one Tory MP says, reducing gas supplies to some factories is a symptom of the failure of the current Labour Government to adequately maintain the gas distribution network, and rebuilding the resilience of energy supplies will be a priority for the next Conservative government.

There are three things fundamentally wrong with this statement.

The first is that some industrial plants have a special contract with their gas suppliers, called an interruptible supply. It means exactly what it says on the label – the gas supply is not guaranteed, and can be reduced or turned off completely when demand for gas increases dramatically, as tends to happen in extended periods of cold weather. In return for agreeing to have an interruptible supply, the companies concerned pay a reduced price for their gas. From some of the anguish expressed in recent days, it seems that some people want both the penny and the bun.

This isn't a new practice – it was one which was commonplace when I started working for British Gas in the 1970s, and was particularly attractive to companies who had a 'dual-fuel' capacity, meaning that they could use gas when it was available, and more expensive oil or electricity for any periods when the gas supply was interrupted.

The second is that the government isn't actually responsible for determining how large our gas storage capacity should be. They used to be, of course, until the previous government decided that it would be much better to privatise the gas industry and let private companies take responsibility for the supplies. I'm sure no-one needs to be reminded which party took that particular decision.

And the third is that it implies that a Conservative government committed to reducing public expenditure is going to start committing resources to build more infrastructure on behalf of already highly profitable companies. Bet that's an election pledge which will be news to his leader.


Unknown said...

It takes Plaid Cymru to keep the British parties in line! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Yes but i worked for a company that had one of those contracts lucky I only saw it come into affect once in the 1980's during that bad spell of weather.

But the government then stated all gas was to be regulated and I was laid off then made redundant, after that the company knocked on my door saying you can come back now, but I was already working for another company.

the fact is I worked for the old British gas building the gas people line from Scotland. But the engineers were already knocking down the old gas storage tanks, I spent years knocking these gasometer's down

The Spirit of BME said...

Mr Dixon,"Spliff" Cameron`s boys got this one wrong and you are 100% correct.However, the lack of research here comes from them employing youth or younger still ,embroyes- all parties do it.They got their eductaional qualifications under Labour ,who turned Universities into "Degrees R Us" Stores.
You state that this practice went "back to the 70`s "- God that`s 10 years before some of these were born ,how do you expect them to know about that.!!!-NURSE.