The energy regulator has warned that the UK faces a “significant risk” of a gas shortage this winter.
The information, which emerged in a letter sent by Ofgem last week and first revealed by The Times, spoke of the possibility of “emergency gas supply” measures due to the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine which starved Europe of its main source of natural gas.
A gas supply emergency can be declared when suppliers are unable to safely get gas to homes and businesses.
This could mean that some customers, starting with the largest industrial consumers, will be asked to stop using gas for a temporary period.
The objective would be to maintain the stability of household supply for as long as possible.
Sky News was expecting a statement from Ofgem shortly to clarify its official position.
The regulator spoke just days before electricity system operator (ESO) National Grid was due to give an update on its winter outlook for spare capacity.
He had told the end of July that he expected supplies to be tight but did not expect the lights to go out despite the Europe-wide battle to secure supplies.
A separate report released on Monday vindicated the jitters as the winter months approach.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned of “unprecedented risks” to supplies, adding that prolonged cold spells will put supplies at risk.
Its quarterly report found that European Union countries would have to cut usage by 13% over the winter months in the event of a complete Russian shutdown.
Supplies from Russia – which accounted for 40% of the bloc’s natural gas needs before the war – are currently operating at only a fraction of usual capacity.
The EU has accused Moscow of militarizing supplies by shutting off the taps on the main Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
The supply crisis has seen companies on the continent, particularly Germany, cut back on their consumption of natural gas as prices soar.