The dispute between Russia and Ukraine is yet again demonstrating the bleeding obvious that our Government manages to ignore because the big energy companies would rather look the other way.
Our Government, opposition politicians, most pressure groups, commentators, leading businessmen and the rest of Hayek's intellectuals persist in focusing on our electricity supplies when discussing our dependence on Russian gas. Policy is structured around it.
Of the reports you have heard from the countries currently suffering shortages because of Russia's actions, how many have focused on the electricity supply? None, in my case. They all focus on the risk that people will go cold. And rightly so, because gas is far more important to our heat supplies than our electricity supplies.
But the same organisations to whom it is currently obvious that this is a heat problem more than an electricity problem, will go back to focusing on electricity policy as the be-all-and-end-all of energy policy, and even use the latter term to mean the former. They will support draconian yet ineffective interventions in the electricity sector, while tacitly accepting (usually because of the fraudulent concept of "energy poverty") continued inaction on, and even positive underwriting (e.g. through low tax-rates and minimal carbon valuation) of our complete dependence on gas for heating.
The reality is simple. If the Russians turn off the taps, we don't have to worry about the lights going out, we have to worry about people freezing. Can we all wake up to the reality that energy ≠ electricity, please?
If you want to get a clearer picture of the reality of our energy systems, have a look at the insert I put together for our wood-pellet supply business.