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Weekly column by EUA's Chief Executive Mike Foster

It's my last weekly column before Christmas and the holiday period. At home the planning has begun, as it is our turn for the family Christmas lunch. Like half the population of the UK, we cook on gas. As part of the planning we discuss what meat, what veg, what wine; how many chairs do we need, will the nice crockery come out - you get the drift I'm sure. What I don't worry about, like most people, is will there be gas?

Why should I, after all, for eight in ten homes on the gas grid, supply is a given. And it is a good job too, because cooking takes place at fairly similar times each day, producing peaks in demand that could not be met (affordably) by electricity only. DECC recognise the challenge. They advocate a future cooking on gas, not electric, which seems a sensible idea but then they also want to reduce the amount of gas used to heat our homes and switch to electric instead. With low gas volumes, such an approach will render the gas grid obsolete at worst, or at least very expensive to maintain. So cooking gas may have to be supplied via bottled gas. So back to my point about planning for Christmas lunch, if we all rely on bottled gas, how many people are going to run out in the middle of cooking their turkey? I'm not sure everyone will welcome this as a way forward.

At this time of year, let's also remember those working in our industry over the holiday period, keeping the lights on, gas flowing and providing emergency cover. And finally, for a New Year resolution. How about in 2015, let's all stop claiming all fossil fuels are dirty and all renewables the answer to the energy trilemma, the sector isn't black and white like this and it is a combination of all fuel types and technologies that will get us to where we want to be.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Best wishes, 

Mike Foster CE

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