If you need steel this winter, it may be wise to contact steel suppliers as soon as possible, as the publication of the National Grid’s Winter Outlook for Gas and Electricity has raised some concerns about production.

The issue is not gas, but electricity, where the margin between peak production and expected peak demand is smaller than in previous years.

In fact, in a cold spell, the margin is expected to average just 4.1%, through a combination of power plant closures, delays in bringing new capacity online, and incidents like the recent fire at Didcot B.

Finding extra margin is not easy, but the National Grid says several power stations have signed up to provide additional reserve capacity if necessary.

However, there are also efforts to balance demand on the industrial consumption side, and this has led to representatives of the Energy Intensive Users Group, which represents intensive industrial energy users in the UK, appearing among the headlines in recent days.

The worry is that a ‘dialling down’ of industrial energy supplies to keep the lights on in UK homes would lead to reduced industrial output – including potentially lower stocks of domestically produced steel.

As of yet, the message is that there should be no need for major concern, but for the sake of peace of mind, it might be wise to contact UK steel suppliers as early as possible to source materials for any projects taking place over the coming winter months – particularly as temperatures drop and household energy consumption increases.