The UK networks operator National Grid took the near unprecedented step on March 13 of warning industrial gas consumers that their supply risks interruption.

National Grid issued a ‘gas balancing warning’, asking the UK’s biggest gas users to restrain their consumption. The wholesale gas price headed over the 250 pence per therm mark as a result of the warning, the BBC reported. National Grid issues such a warning only when forecast usage surpasses 380 million cubic meters per day.

The alert system was introduced in November 2005, with the network company saying that if a further supply alert was required for March 14, it would be posted on its website.

Fears of a gas price crunch have persisted throughout the winter amid fears of unusually harsh weather and unprecedented demand, coupled with a lack of import capacity from continental Europe. In recent days, the UK’s weather has been particularly cold, and National Grid attributes its latest warning to this, coupled with an outage at the Rough gas storage platform in the North Sea.

The Rough facility, owned by Centrica, was closed last month after a fire.