Blizzards and freezing temperatures were expected to continue through the weekend as some areas of the country woke up to a foot snow on the ground.
A major undersea gas pipeline shut down unexpectedly on Friday, pushing prices up by 50 per cent to a record high and forcing suppliers to eat into the country’s limited gas reserves.
Britain has less than 36 hours of gas reserves remaining and with severe cold weather forecast over the weekend, energy demand is unlikely to abate.
The Met Office has put a level 3 cold weather alert in place until Monday morning, warning that heavy snow and cold temperatures posed a particular risk to vulnerable elderly people.
It said that strong winds are also expected to contribute to the harsh conditions. Sleet and snow is due to spread from the south west, bringing significant snowfall to the Midlands and north of England over the weekend.