Householders all over London will have been dismayed by the recent surge in energy prices, caused by the rising wholesale cost of gas that has pushed some suppliers out of business and forced others to raise prices as far as the energy cap will allow.
All this will leave some upset or angry at the bottom line on their bills, but many will also wonder just what they can do about it.
More solar panel installation in London could be one way forward, enabling people to generate some of their own electricity and not have to rely on suppliers at the mercy of the various factors influencing the energy market. After all, burning gas is one of the ways electricity is generated, so this is not immune to the cost pressures.
A good reason for using more solar power is that the gas crisis may not go away anytime soon. It is certainly true that in the short term the surge in demand for gas has been driven by the opening up of western economies as vaccination programmes ease the pandemic. But this alone is not a full explanation, as gas demand was higher before the crisis.
The main issue is supply. Across Europe, gas supplies are down because half of it comes from Russia and the amount coming through the pipelines continues to decline. This impacts on wholesale prices, although the UK sources some gas from the North Sea and Norway.
Another issue is gas storage. Other European countries have up to five times as much capacity as Britain, with UK levels being branded “pathetic” by Sir Jim Radcliffe, the head of chemicals giant Ineos. He has warned of possible factory shutdowns and blackouts over winter.
A few years ago the government planned to increase gas supplies from shale, but the controversy over the fracking methods used to extract it has led to this being abandoned.
With solar being so green and gas supplies being so uncertain, now may be the best time yet to get some rooftop panels installed.