The General Discussion Thread

[Publish Date updated to restore to front page]

Okay as an experiment here it is. Discuss your favourite generals here!

Well perhaps… Really this is simply the place to post news-items, fun-items or whatever takes your fancy. In short just post what you want here.

It’s just another wee experiment – comments welcome.


[Image: General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett (Stephen Fry)]

17,284 thoughts on “The General Discussion Thread

  1. Ah yes, a Korg; that’s it. The cassette tape recorder is a memory device for loading the digital memory. I also have a Yamaha CX5M music computer with built in FM synthesiser, but it’s not working and probably badly defunct.

    I have an Acorn Electron, several BBC Masters, and an Acorn A3000, all working, and an Acorn A5000 (I think) mysteriously dead. I have a BBC model B with a trivial power supply fault. Also two CRT monitors for the BBC machines, plus two rectangular frames that fit around the screen, with LED beams and light sensors to implement a sort of touch screen interface. Also an Amstrad PCW9512 which runs CPM and Locoscript, plus my own hack of Locoscript, if the floppies are still readable.

    My best friend at school was a very talented pianist, keyboard player, arranger and composer. He wanted to do multitracking, but there was no way we could afford that sort of gear. So we each bought the best Dolby hi-fi cassette decks we could afford, and I built a six into two mixer from a design in one of the hobbyist electronics mags. I did the whole thing; drilled holes in an aluminium box for the potentiometers, etched and drilled the circuit boards, and soldered it all up. Then we “multitracked” by recording on one cassette deck, then played back what we’d got while mixing in the second take, recording on the other. We could do three or four bounces before the tape hiss got too bad. He made jingles for a pirate radio station that way.

  2. Clark

    I seen your Request Re Ben….

    I hope things get sorted with you two… Sqounk needs you Both

    And I Shall Relay That…Message to Ben

    I wonder somtimes..The Elite War is working Everey where…But the Lying bastards.. bbC ect Wont work with me

  3. Putin “Orders Cold Blast” to Hike Gas and Oil Price

    The Sura Ionospheric Heating Facility, in Vasilsursk, Novgorod , went into overdrive earlier this week amid accusations that President Putin is hiking gas and oil prices in retaliation to Theresa May’s rejection of a tanker of LNG…

  4. Squonk, it looks worse up your way. That’s new.

    Wow, I see there’s an Amber Weather Warning for snow for Essex, for Tuesday AM. I’ve never before seen a warning above Yellow; “be aware”. Amber is “be prepared” and Red is “take action”.

    Well I’ve been taking action for days, thanks to you Squonk. I have built up a fair stock of firewood and I’m continuing to prepare more. If it gets real bad I’ll be sleeping in front of the stove.

  5. Words fail me regarding the stupid machismo of our political system. Thirty billion on nuclear weapons, fuck knows what on purely offensive aircraft carriers, a naval base in Bahrain, mass global surveillance, wars here there and everywhere, but they haven’t even secured the domestic energy supply apart from spending x billion on a massive nuclear power station that may well never work.

  6. “Already a quarter of our gas comes in one single pipeline from Norway which shuts down in extreme Norwegian cold as forecast next week. We can no longer compensate for loss of Norway/Europe supply with our own storage because Centrica fucking destroyed it and nobody gives a damn”

    Squonk, are you saying there is a chance we could really run out of power in the next few weeks cold snap? Cause that does dampen my excitement over the snow.

  7. Phil, we very nearly ran out of power in December, and the situation we’re facing now is much, much worse. Squonk alerted me; I was watching the meters:

    See the Wind meter that goes up to 12.5 gig? Wind capacity actually goes up to 16 I think, but the extra is consumed locally without being metered, so it shows up as a reduction of demand. The rise to peak demand kicks in around five in the afternoon. At half four, all the dials were up in the red, except nuke and wind. Nuke was down 2 gig because there was a plant off-line. Wind was way down because the UK was nationally becalmed. Squonk and I were texting each other, biting our nails, waiting for demand to to start its rise. At 16:45 the wind started blowing and saved the day.

    They’ve completely fudged the figures and put out a propaganda job. The power supply is teetering on the edge; that’s why they’re trying to fire up a mothballed coal station. I’ve a Quaker mate at UCL who’s in daily association with those who are supposedly in the know; they’ve even pulled the wool over his eyes. He thought we had three times as much interconnect capacity with Europe than we actually do; they’d passed off proposed systems as operational.

  8. All my old gear went a long time ago, nobody ever thought it would ever be worth anything, it was already obsolete when I bought it. Had a VOX AC30, the reverb was a speaker fastened to a microphone by a spring. Had a Selmer Treble and Bass 30 that picked up police car radios if they were anywhere near. Had a WEM copycat tape loop echo chamber.

    I wonder if in another 50 years Zoom R8s will be fetching big money on Ebay.

  9. And we can’t rely on the interconnect capacity because it’s going to be even colder in mainland Europe than it will be here. Likewise the gas pipeline. This is very serious, even without something breaking.

    Can you guess what else they’ve done? You remember we used to have 250v mains power, and then 240, and now we’re “coming into line with Europe” by dropping to 220? Well the more current they put through the transmission network, the greater the losses and the greater the voltage drop. “Coming into line with Europe” has been used as an excuse to avoid investing in infrastructure; just cram more current through the existing wires because there’s 20v of sag they can get away with.

  10. Someone online must be reporting this power stuff? If not you really should write a post now Squonk!

  11. Fred

    That sounds like some crazy reverb. Was that a home made modification? I got to use a 25″ x 5″ (approx from memory) plate reverb a few times. Friggin hilarious. I’m looking at my (reverbless) AC30 right now. Definitely going to flog that and get myself a nice portable reliable modern thing. And yes, I reckon zooms will fetch a bomb in 50 years.

    I’m clearing out because I hope to start playing again. Do either of you still play at all?

  12. No they were made like that.

    I’m part of a band, me and the bass player are here, a vocalist near Edinburgh, a vocalist and guitar player up at Wick, the drummer in Lancashire. We do it all over the internet playing to a click and passing files between us, we are never all in the same place at the same time.

  13. Amazing Reading here lately.. ” Two misplaced Bulldozers, could cut Scotland off ” Yikes Man.

    Clark..yes the Independence movement was a real Future embracing, internationalist promoting happy time.. i was in tears before trudging off to bed that night / Morning.. ( vote night )

    I had no Idea so many of you were Musicians..Great stuff

    I HAD till two weeks ago a lovely Epiphone Acoustic Guitar.. then my Bright eyed Daughter asked for a loan of it, THEN she demanded it for her up coming birthday.. so that was that gone..i was crap anyway…
    I tried my hand at the bodhran.. was ok with it, but now it takes pride of place on my living room wall.. After i painted a kool portrait of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce nation on it

    All the best with the Snow Guys…and with returning to playing Phil.

  14. Phil,

    Energy specialist media and financial trading will be back from weekend break tomorrow. We’ll see what (if anything) they say then. Also what happens to the UK wholesale natural gas price early in the week will tell us what specialist energy traders think. Prices soared to a still current record in March 2013 when we almost hit rock bottom. If that record goes this week then we know it’s panic stations.

    About the second highest price spike ever occurred briefly a couple of months ago when the Forties pipeline sprung a leak, a European gas storage site had an explosion and supplies from Norway were briefly interrupted.

  15. I just play what I’m asked to play Brian, there are three people writing music and they are all different, I even did some punk rock a few weeks back.

  16. Squonk

    Last night I looked at the web sites linked from gridwatch but even the acronyms lost me. I can’t interpret the gridwatch dials. So pls do keep us updated. I had no idea we were so on the edge. I imagine someone from the Labour party, fingers crossed, wishing for the worst. A few deaths will be a big winner.


    Yeah I’m not an accomplished player either but that doesn’t stop me. Some of my favouite music is by the less proficient. Who can’t love the singing of Ari Up? Why not get yourself a cheap replacement and play with your daughter!


    You old punk rocker! I knew it.

  17. 90% of the money made in Nashville is made on just three chords, people who use more are just showing off.

  18. The first snow was here earlier than forecast on BBC Weather page 2653266. The “light snow showers” that aren’t predicted yet actually look rather heavy. There is no more snow shown on the daily summary boxes until “light snow” on Thursday and Friday, with no temperatures below freezing from Thursday onward, rising to 8c on Sunday.

    If it wasn’t for the Weather Warnings you wouldn’t suspect anything serious. The Weather Warnings aren’t even on the same page if you have Javascript enabled (yes, enabled), in which case most of the links to them don’t work, and when they do you’re taken to an enormous list of them for the whole country. Wind speeds and direction were stripped from the daily summary boxes a couple of weeks ago in the “site upgrade”.

  19. Regarding

    The big dials, from the left. The first four are self explanatory:

    – Demand, Frequency, Coal, Nuclear

    The next, CCGT, is the major gas power stations. Finally Wind, the one to watch, the trickster.

    Of the small dials, minor sources across the top row.

    Bottom Row – the four big under-sea transmission cables, which can show either positive or negative. Only the first two connect to Mainland Europe, and are currently showing positive, ie. a supply of power. The second two connect to Ireland which is even more peripheral to the grid, and they’re currently showing negative, ie. a demand of power.

  20. Fred
    “90% of the money made in Nashville is made on just three chords, people who use more are just showing off.”

    Word. And the remaining 10% is just a 7th of one of those.


    Sure, but it’s making any meaning of the data. I see their daily visitor count is going through the roof.

    It’s all over the news today. Can you link to an article giving the overview of how we have got to this position? Along the lines of the comments above. If not it needs writing. Come on Squonk!

  21. Squonk, have the gas pipelines at Bacton terminal come back on? Where can we monitor that? I take it if Bacton stays off, we’re screwed? I sure can’t see much margin.

    Phil, Squonk knows it better than me.

    “but it’s making any meaning of the data”

    UK Demand is the first big dial on the left. Ignoring frequency, all the other dials have to add up to UK Demand (though a slight complication is that few of the little dials can be showing as positive (supply) or negative (subtracting from supply rather than appearing as demand)).

    If UK Demand is at less than max, and all the other dials are hard to the right, there’s no type of supply that can increase when Demand inevitably does, at about five PM.

    CCGT – big gas power stations – is the backbone of the system, which can supply 25 gig nominally, or up to 27.5 if they really push matters into the red. The next biggest contribution can come from wind (12.5GW plus the unmetered bit), then coal (10GW if they push it), then nuke (9GW at a push, if nothing’s off-line).

    CCGT – major gas generation – usually sits there at 25gig, only dropping if demand is really low or wind is really high. Nuke usually shuffles about between 8 and 6 gig as reactors come on and off line for scheduled maintenance. Wind goes up and down depending on how hard the wind blows.

    Currently, coal is in the red because they’re pushing it as hard as they can, so that they can conserve gas, which is showing unusually low output at just 15 gig.

  22. The situation at the time of writing is that we have some 10 gig in hand from gas, but demand could rise by 8.5 gig, and solar will drop by 3.6 gig at nightfall. That’s already a potential deficit of around 2 gig. Also, wind could drop but probably won’t, and European authorities and companies could decide that they need their electricity more than an EU-leaving troublemaking country does; that’s another 3 gig possible drop.

    But none of this shows the gas pipelines. If one goes wrong, or if Europe decides to cut back on the gas they’re sending us, it gets really serious indeed.

    If gas gets short, they’ll shut down power stations rather than turn off the gas supply to towns etc., because a town has never been turned off and back on again – it’s completely unknown territory.

  23. “Currently, coal is in the red because they’re pushing it as hard as they can, so that they can conserve gas, which is showing unusually low output at just 15 gig.”

    Why are they doing this?

    It’s real doomsday stuff watching those dials. I’ll be back just before 5pm.

  24. Further complications are that some big industrial consumers have their own emergency diesel generators, and their electricity supply contracts stipulate that they must resort to those generators if the grid is short and wants to divert electricity elsewhere.

    A problem with privatisation is that private contracts are covered by commercial confidentiality, whereas government-controlled entities are subject to freedom of information rules.

  25. “Why are they doing this?”

    They’re trying to conserve gas for the big demand as the working day ends, and as solar goes off-line as the sun sets.

    So they’re trying to conserve gas in what little storage is left after privatisation – less than a day’s worth, I believe. They have some little storage facilities, and then there’s “Linepack”, where they ramp up the gas pressure in the distribution network.

  26. My BBC Weather page has, at last, been updated. Now showing heavy snow showers tomorrow and Wednesday, plus light snow Thursday and Friday.

  27. It’s damned cold here in Holland. This will be the warmest day of the week, according to the usually reliable forecast, and the thermometer showed -4°C first thing this morning. I’m aiming to get going well before the sun really goes down, the temperature drops precipitously. Rather bracing on the bicycle these days, facing a stiff nor’east’er on the way home.

    The Dutch are pretty excited (at least, as excited as they generally get) about the possibility of the first good, hard freeze in many years. That will allow skating on the canals, and various fields which are actually set up for skating and ice-hockey when not being used for football in the warmer seasons. All quite clever. They turn the drainage off when they want the pitch to fill and freeze.

    You might have noticed in the recent Olympics, the Dutch are quite keen on skating.

    I don’t imagine the Dutch would withhold electricity supplies to the UK for anything but a national emergency here…. they are surprisingly fond of the British.

  28. Briefly as I’m busy just now.

    Gas national data

    There are multiple links on that page but to check pipeline inflows
    or to go straight to graphs (click last 24 hours)

    Currently Langeled pipleline from Norway running flat out but reduced flows at Bacton terminal from Belgium and Netherlands but that has been varying uo and down.

    Also reminder of detailed electricty page (click electricty data summary for an overview. – Click Generation=>Wind forecast out-turn for wind projections). Loads of additional stuff at that page.

  29. Glenn

    Electricity and gas flows usually are simply price based. If British wholesale gas and electricity prices rise high enough in theory we can outbid Europe but if there was a supply crisis in Europe and national interests come into play then I doubt they would turn off their lights to keep ours on!

  30. Things are holding up pretty well at present, and electricity demand is relatively low for the time of day. There’s enough wind to generate 5 gig of electricity, but not so much as to produce serious wind-chill. Tomorrow it’ll get very cold, but still gentle wind. Serious wind-chill will be on Wednesday and Thursday.

  31. Fred

    My Fave Punk Band Was / Is ‘ the Antinowhere League ‘

    I was A punk at one time..a Bunch of us got thrown out of Balloch… Because we Entered at the same time the pubs were spilling were ganged up upon.. Big mistake..For Them

    Phil… Determination Yep…

    My daghter’s Partner is a great Bassist… I prefer Poetry…. But My Wee Girl’s partner is pretty damn Good .. He is The Base on this Vid –

  32. 2km High resolution model run through 6am Wednesday UK time which is the end of the 2km model run. These ultra high res models should be able to get a handle on convection generating lake (or north sea) effect snow. Will be interesting to see how well they do here!

    Simulated radar reflectivity 36hrs – NMM 2km model latest run which shows how it thinks we got that snow. Timezone is France so take off one hour for UK time.

  33. Ive been to Brighton and Ive been to Hasting, so what. Ive been here and Ive been there and Ive been everyfuckingwhere, so what, so what, so what, so what, you boring little c*nt.

    As if anyone ever boasted about going to Hastings. All the more beautiful.

  34. Clark

    This from Macky’s off-guardian link:

    Please explain why it is that the most prolific scholar – by far – on 9/11 is a Christian and Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, David Ray Griffin, and why this scholar, highly-esteemed within and without his own academic field, does not swallow the collapse-by-fire miracles? He has written over 10 books on the subject of 9/11…

    A materialist perspective understands the author probably answers his own question. i.e. That, wether acknowledged consciously or not, the income from 10 books is a strong motivator for the good professor to reject explanations.

    And the appeal to authority is something to raise the hackles of any anarchist.

  35. Clark

    Materialism is not an exhaustive perspective. It is not deterministic. The material benefits are always open to other influences. However, in the long view, in the larger picture, material self interest rules the roost.

  36. Phil, a couple of questions:

    Would a materialist perspective also consider other motivations, such as psychological rewards like attention, becoming a leader, or gaining a sense of superiority through having hidden or special knowledge etc?

    How well do anarchists accept appeal to demonstrated technical expertise?

  37. Clark
    “How well do anarchists accept appeal to demonstrated technical expertise?”

    As well as anyone who uses common sense really.

    I will offer a thought that I have picked up from anarchists: that people often dig in too readily. It is better to not take a position than fight on the half baked. It is rare that an individual must take a position on matters that they have no chance of understanding.

  38. “I will offer a thought that I have picked up from anarchists…”

    But tbc I don’t think this is anarchism and obviously not exclusive to anarchists or any such thing.

  39. “people often dig in too readily”


    “It is rare that an individual must take a position on matters that they have no chance of understanding”


  40. Phil, I’m guessing that Marx was to politics what Darwin was to biology – obviously not 100% right or anything, but someone who opened an entire field of theory by daring to state the obvious in the face of intransigent opposition from vested interests.

  41. Komodo

    It’s futile to present democracy to those who have no conception. They are deletion protective of their pets and quite unapologetic as are their Western counterparts the Donald Trump Bund and Funders.


  42. Thank you for the latest Weather Squonk..As I do not have a tv… It’s White it’s mega White here..

  43. Clark
    “Marx was to politics what Darwin was to biology…”

    Yes, but unlike Darwin (and Freud) he embraced the revolutionary implications of his thinking. But then unlike them he lived in poverty, a fact consistent with materialsm.

    I’ve started my stab at historical materialism intro, only revealing how little I know!

  44. Alright Ben. Is Komodo the lizard from CM’s place? Does he come here? I think he knows a little about Marx too.

    I bet you have some vintage stuff under your bed.

  45. Clark

    Marx was prolific, ambiguous and contradictory. He changed his mind (eg I think his first run at HM was somehwat deterministic but later revised). Thus setting the ground for the wildly differing interpretations. There does seem to be a tendency among some marxists to argue over the meaning of his words rather than argue the point. It’s cult like rigid thinking. Which was exactly what Marx was not like. Marx himself declared “I am not a marxist”.

    But I am talking on the edge of my limited understanding here.

  46. Brian
    “As I do not have a tv”

    I wish I could bin mine. In my defence I do have an small 1980s model, deeper than it is wide and with psychedelic colour variations from top to bottom.

  47. “psychedelic colour variations from top to bottom”

    Probably the thermistor has failed; they are prone to. It’s a temperature sensitive resistor wired in series with the degausing coils around the back of the tube. It has low resistance when cold, increasing as it heats up, ie. it has a positive temperature coefficient which is why it’s sometimes called the PTC.

    It’s a convenience feature, you don’t absolutely need one. You need to arrange for a high AC current through the degausing coil, decreasing smoothly over a couple of seconds. The diminishing, alternating magnetic field demagnetises the steel shadow mask just behind the screen.

    If that doesn’t fix the colour variations, it could be that the deflection coils are out of alignment.

  48. Thanks Clark but having an almost unwatchable tv is my compromise with my desire to not have one. And I don’t understand a word of what you wrote. I am certainly not fiddling with my high AC even through a degausian coil.

  49. Phil, I’m sure you could rig a modern flat-screen if you wanted to; they’re spilling out onto people’s front yards. A market economy is the fastest method yet discovered of turning natural resources into toxic landfill.

  50. OK, I think I get what they meant by “blizzard conditions” now. Although it’s not actually snowing (in fact it’s bright sunshine with a very clear blue sky), icy blasts of wind whip huge clouds of snow off the big field at the back and slam them into the back windows of the house with a noise like a hailstorm. It’s really quite impressive; the wind-lifted snow looks rather like dust devils in summer.

  51. I am back.

    Looks like the USA is upping the date of its non-nuclear, pre-emptive attack on North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities. having its unidentified toadies in the UN leak claims that it used banned missile and chemical warfare parts to help Syria and Myanmar conduct its aggression against its people.

    This is while the USA has been kicking the stuffing out of Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq. Pakistan, and North Korea with laser attacks made out to be its atomic tests.

    Nikki Haley tops all propaganda contenders at the UN.

    Should have stayed away.


    NW European natural gas demand hits six-year high, prices surge again

    London (Platts)–28 Feb 2018 655 am EST/1155 GMT

    Demand for gas in northwest Europe is forecast to hit a six-year high of more than 1.42 Bcm on Wednesday, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics, as temperatures remain well below seasonal norms due to the Arctic weather front dubbed the “Beast from the East.”

    Consumption forecast at more than 1.42 Bcm Wednesday
    European hub prices all move higher than Eur34/MWh
    Still no sign of influx of LNG cargoes into NW Europe

    Gas consumption in the main demand centers of the UK, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands is estimated at 1.422 Bcm Wednesday, the highest daily demand in the countries since February 2012 when daily consumption peaked at 1.53 Bcm.

    Prices across Europe surged Tuesday, with all the main hubs assessed by S&P Global Platts at more than Eur34/MWh — or $12/MMBtu.

    The UK NBP within-day price surged in early trading Wednesday to as high as 140 p/th — or more than Eur54/MWh — while the Dutch TTF day-ahead price was trading higher in early trade on Wednesday at above Eur37/MWh.

    The big freeze gripping the UK contributed to the cost of wholesale natural gas more than doubling on Wednesday morning, according to industry figures.

    They showed that gas for immediate delivery hit 12-year highs at 190p per therm before slipping back slightly.

    An outage at a Norwegian gas processing plant also influenced the jump in costs as it hit exports to UK gas terminals.

  53. Has the USA been heating up the Arctic 20 degrees in the hope of releasing all the gas in its permafrost but resulting in the freezing up of the rest of Europe instead?

  54. T: That’s called global climate change. It’s not that the US has done it deliberately, but rather the paid representatives of the fossil-fuel industries in Congress and the Senate felt it would get in the way of profit-making, should they do anything to stop it.

  55. Yeah. Baal, formerly komodo.

    Half of comments disappear with morning dew, so Komos request for democracy fell by wayside. Comment here was backup.

  56. G: That’s why the Russians, according to the US Air Force Chief of Staff, David Goldfein, is complaining about Moscow building airborne lasers to shoot down enemy satellites, and why warmonger Trump is nominating himself for the Nobel Peace Prize by seeking peace through his ideology of force?

    The world has gone nuts and is soon going down the drain!!

  57. Oh right, Mackey, the Embassy had evidence of North Korea supplying special resistance valves to Syria so its ICBMs could safely meet re-entry problems, and special high temperature thermometers in chemical and biological research.

    All the stuff must have been stacked up in the Ambassador’s office of the ransacked Embassy.

  58. Better shove more logs on the fire Clark ..we have about 5 inches of snow, much more in some places First ever Red Alert here…All I can see of the car is the wee Scotlland flag sticking out of the snow on the roof… I’m thinking of alternating the wee flags..a Japanese one would be kool

    Phil , them old tv’s are so vintage eh.. I had a big tv like that till about three years ago.. Do yir back in moving them things.

    I missed most of the winter Games though, and I love winter Sports.. I really must not miss the world Cup though.. need to get one of the wee box thingies

  59. Clark

    I refuse, for no good reason, to upgrade my tv.

    RE (tv) prices: Marx explains how new technologies create economic crisis. It is one of the testable contradictions in Capital, and it seems to happen regularly itrw, that shows capitalism can never be stable. It’s called the the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall.


    Big freeze creates 12-year spike in UK gas price
    First significant test of market since closure of Rough storage facility

    Demand for gas soared to its highest level in five years on Wednesday as freezing weather gripped the UK, prompting fears supplies could get tighter over the coming days.

    Wholesale gas prices for same-day delivery soared to a 12-year high, jumping to 190p a therm on Wednesday morning, more than three times the average of 56p a therm seen so far this month.

    Prices were driven higher not just by snowy conditions but by several outages at gas terminals which slowed imports.

    Demand was forecast to be about a third higher than seasonal norms as households turned up their heating.

    The country’s gas system was undersupplied in the morning, with demand at 391 million cubic meters (mcm) and supply expected at 385mcm, according to data from National Grid, the system operator. Supplies were back up at 415mcm by late afternoon, ahead of forecast demand of 405mcm for Thursday.

    National Grid said that it was “in communication with terminal operators and closely monitoring the situation”.

    With the cold snap expected to last for several more days, it is the first major test of Britain’s gas market since the closure last year of Rough, the UK’s biggest natural storage facility, which prompted concerns the country would be more exposed to sudden price swings in winter.

    I recommend reading all of above FT link of which the above is an extract.

  61. It’s bloody cold here. I’ve known nothing like it in the 26 years I’ve lived in this house.

    Snow has blown in through small cracks. This is because it’s so cold that the snow is frozen to dryness and consequently doesn’t stick. It may have blown under the roof tiles, in which case I’ll have a loft full of snow, which is something I saw once in the house I grew up in. I’ll go up and look later, and if necessary clear it as best I can with the aqua-vac, so long as the electricity stays on. That’ll mean closing the loft hatch behind me so warm air from the house doesn’t melt the snow and bring down the upstairs ceilings.

    Anyone with a loft I recommend you go up and check, especially if you have a slate roof.

    This is scary; we can’t stand this for long. Many buildings are likely to be damaged. Wherever the power goes off there are going to be very serious consequences.

  62. “Paywall unfortunately”

    Somehow, I’m getting that article, maybe because I have Javascript disabled?

  63. Storage facilities have traditionally helped to smooth out price spikes over the winter and Rough accounted for more than 70 per cent of the UK’s storage capacity.

    The National Balancing Point gas market, the virtual hub that serves as the main pricing point for UK natural gas, has seen “a perfect storm”, said Oliver Burdett, commercial director at EnAppSys, an energy market monitoring specialist.

    “Issues at the Norwegian Kollsnes processing plant, low gas flows from Europe due to shortages on the continent and cold weather have combined to expose a weakened gas market following the closure of Rough,” he added. At its peak, Rough could hold 3,700mcm of gas so its removal from the market has a “significant impact”.

    As supplies from the North Sea decline over the longer term, Britain will become increasingly import dependent and need to compete with gas supplies, according to market analysts.

    Last winter, the UK secured 38 per cent of its gas supplies from the North Sea, 42 per cent from Norway and 10 per cent from pipelines linked to continental Europe. A further 4 per cent came from shipments of liquefied natural gas dispatched by producer countries such as Qatar, with the remainder provided by storage facilities.

    Security of supply in the UK has “gotten worse”, said Niall Trimble, managing director of the Energy Contract Company. Before the closure of Rough, Britain’s overall gas storage capacity accounted for roughly 6 per cent of annual demand. That has now dropped to about 2 per cent, said Mr Trimble.

    The high wholesale prices could also lead to higher household energy bills in the coming weeks. While none of the big suppliers has yet raised their tariffs, Bulb, one of the fastest-growing small suppliers, said earlier this week it would be putting up its dual fuel electricity and gas tariff by £24 a year to £879 for a typical annual bill.

  64. C: “The condensation on the inside of my windows has turned to ice.

    You’re lucky… the water on the inside of my water-bottle turned to ice this morning, during the course of my bike ride into work! Temperature on a gauge outside a bank said -8 °C first thing, but it felt a lot colder than that. Most canals appear to have frozen over completely, even the larger ones.

  65. “The country’s gas system was undersupplied in the morning, with demand at 391 million cubic meters (mcm) and supply expected at 385mcm, according to data from National Grid, the system operator. Supplies were back up at 415mcm by late afternoon, ahead of forecast demand of 405mcm for Thursday.”

    They don’t specify the period. Assuming that’s per day…

    “Rough accounted for more than 70 per cent of the UK’s storage capacity […] At its peak, Rough could hold 3,700mcm of gas”

    3700 / ~400 = less than ten days supply. WITH Rough.

    We can’t stand a week of this. I’m delighted for Theresa May that she got the thrill of sticking her fingers up at Putin by sending his shipload of gas away in December, but maybe she should have considered the possible consequences for the population of the UK.


    “The specifications of Christophe de Margerie make her a unique vessel. She was assigned an Arc7 ice class, the highest ice class amongst existing merchant vessels. The vessel is capable of sailing independently through ice up to 2.1 metre thick. Christophe de Margerie can sail along the Northern Sea Route westward from Sabetta all-the-year-round and eastward for six months of the year (from July to December). Previously, the summer navigation window on the Northern Sea Route was limited to only four months with ice-breaker support.

    The total power of the vessel’s propulsion system is 45 mW. For comparison, the world’s first nuclear-powered ice-breaker, Lenin, had a power output of only around two thirds of this figure at 32.4 mW.

    In just one voyage, the vessel can carry 172,600 m3 of LNG, which is sufficient to supply the country of Sweden with all its gas requirements for almost four weeks. The vessel is 299 metres long (equal to the height of the Eiffel Tower) and 60 metres high (comparable to the height of a 22-storey building).

    The crew of the ship numbers 29, all of whom are Russian seafarers and 13 of which are officers. On top of the significant Arctic shipping experience each officer has, he or she has undergone extensive training at Sovcomflot’s own training centre in St. Petersburg.”

    I assume that the apparently low capacity compared with UK consumption is because the cargo is liquefied whereas UK consumption figures are for the gaseous form.

  67. If Arctic development is such a great idea, why are you bitching about its consequences?

  68. Breaking news – the UK is officially facing a “gas deficit” by the end of today.

    The UK is bidding for gas; money no object. National transport severely compromised.

  69. Clark, Europe, even the UK, wouldn’t have a fuel problem if the monkeys had not been directing the Spaceship Earth for the past century.


    National Grid has issued Gas Deficit Warning for Gas Day 01/03/2018. Please see Prevailing View for the latest Supply/Demand position. This warning has been issued in response to a series of significant supply losses resulting in a forecast end of day supply deficit. National Grid will consider any user offers for single or multiple day trades via the OTC or OCM, and any Demand Side Response offers made via the OCM. Note OTC offers can only be made by non OCM subscribers.

    Our main import pipelines have come back to closer to full capacity so we will probably get through today if nothing else fails. If the Langeled pipeline fails expect the lighs to begin to go out in a few hours as we won’t be able to keep gas power stations running.

    Weather forecast for next week on a knife edge. Currently it looks like it will warm up a bit before turning cold again. Demand for gas and electricity is lower at weekends so hopefully we can get through the weekend and not be facing maximum demand days again early next week. We also have a lot of wind today and tomorrow which means the at breaking point gas grid has 15GW less to supply to gas fired power stations.

    Our gas supply situation is so precarious that we really are very close to all being shivering in the cold and dark with massive rotating power cuts across the UK. It has been obvious to anyone who isn’t a fucking idiot that our energy security has been destroyed by private enterprise and government.

  71. That FT article I wasn’t behind a paywall yesterday for me. Try searching for the article title in google and going in through the google link if you can’t see it. Try it in a new private window in case FT has set a cookie saying you’ve had the free allowance already,

  72. New FT article

    Britain may not have enough gas to meet demand on Thursday as freezing temperatures continue to grip the country, National Grid said, issuing its first deficit warning for eight years.

    The company, which owns the UK’s grid infrastructure and is in charge of balancing supply and demand, said that demand for gas is expected to significantly outstrip supply on Thursday. According to a forecast late on Thursday morning, there is a shortfall of about 30m cubic metres.

    …Dr Jonathan Marshall, energy analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit said “Allowing Centrica to close the UK’s only big long-term gas store without consideration for supply during cold snaps, failing to develop a coherent plan for low-carbon heating, and . . . a head-in-the sand approach to improving energy efficiency in homes have all put households and businesses at risk of shortages and price spikes.”

    It says in the story that only industrial users are at risk of getting cut off but avoids the obvious that the biggest industrial user of natural gas are our gas fired power stations. Any major import disruption will empty our storage within days so immediate rotating power cuts will start to ration demand. Once a city’s electricity goes off then the gas boiler shuts down as well so rationing electricty also rations gas.

  73. Btw,

    FT are known ro take legal action against people extracting their news stories. I consider under the circumstances of a near national emergency that my extracts are fair use and I hope I don’t get taken to court for sharing the information.

  74. If the electricity supply starts to fail, gas usage will be sharply cut because nobody will be able to run their central heating.

    It’s astounding that such an important resource has been left to the vagaries of the market. I know the faith of neo-cons in the market is absolute, and quite touching in a way, but any fool knows that markets have crashed regularly and with disastrous results for nearly all concerned. To allow essential utilities to go the same way should attract a charge of depraved indifference for subjecting the supply to such a system (if an equivalent thing exists in UK law) :

    How many years has this nonsense gone on? The gasometers used to be full at the start of the cold season. That’s all done away with. Now we prefer a “just-in-time” approach to everything, which merely serves to reduce capital outlay and shift the cost further up the supply chain. Sounds great in theory, until we hit something like this.

    Indeed, queuing theory ought to tell us that having a supply just about matching average consumption is going to be a disaster at some point. Unbelievable, that this is allowed to happen in a rich well-developed country like Britain.

    If this doesn’t prove that privitisation of basic utilities is a dangerous con, nothing will.

  75. Squonk

    I cleared all ft offline data, I tried private window and tor but had paywall every time. However, works from google search. Must be a combination of link url & ip address?

    Anyway, interesting. Do you know of any good articles explaining how wholesale prices are set. A quick search comes up with nothing beyond the a simple ‘supply and demand’.

  76. Squonk
    ” It has been obvious to anyone who isn’t a fucking idiot that our energy security has been destroyed by private enterprise and government.”

    It will certainly be obvious to the providers too. But the market demands they must maximise profits to stay in business. That’s capitalism.

  77. Squonk, thanks for the update.

    Trowbridge, that’s very true. People need to vote for governments that will regulate effectively, but the corporate media play down issues that might cause governments to impose regulations. They prefer to frame that as “government interference”.

  78. Phil there is a bidding system in place and IT systems linking all concerned parties. There is also the futures market where you can gamble on the future price. If you had gambled 10,000 quid on gas price spiking a few days ago you would now be 180,000 pounds richer. I know that because after I warned someone in advance of how dire the situation was and they tried a gamble on the derivatives market with a demo account and that’s what they made. Unfortunately it was a demo account and the money wasn’t real.

    Latest update from National Grid says that the IT system linking all concerned parties is having issues today….

  79. National Grid have updated for tomorrow and the available capacity has been cut by 40 million cubic metres per day. As the import pipelines are running again I think that means that some of our storage is now completely empty at some locations. It looks to me like 2 out of 4 (split across two locations) LNG tanks may be empty or near enough although the problem could be elsewhere.

    We are also 2GW down on nuclear power. Several reactors have had unplanned issues.

    Torness 2
    Load reduced due to the risk of marine ingress

    Sizewell B 2
    Unit shut down to address a generator hydrogen leak

    Heysham 1
    Operating on 7 out of 8 boilers

    Heysham 2
    At reduced load to manage fuel temperatures

    Hartlepool 2

    Automatically tripped following a power supply fault

  80. Just to make it clear. On a cold winter day the UK is no longer capable of getting through even a single day without import pipelines operating from Norway/EU. Germany and France can last for weeks to months without external supply. We can’t even manage a day since we’ve closed virtually all of our storage with Rough closure the final nail in the coffin.

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