Wholesale gas prices spiked this week and market operators have warned Australia is facing a gas shortage as we head into winter. The warning came a week after the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) ordered an increase to the benchmark price of electricity due to low coal supply, among other factors. Meanwhile my fingers are numb because I guess I can’t use my heating anymore.

Gas prices rose last week due to what Treasurer Jim Chalmers called “perfect storm” of sanctions on international markets, pressures on retailers and the fact that it’s fucking cold so everyone is cranking their heaters.

“We’ve got spiking gas prices, spiking electricity prices and spiking prices for petrol,” he said on Thursday.

“There’s no use beating around the bush: these challenges in the energy market are part of this cost of living crisis that we’ve inherited.”

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) issued a warning on Thursday of a possible shortage of gas supplies in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. It didn’t happen, but we got close. In Victoria the network hit 98 per cent capacity.

The “low reserve conditions” were attributed to “market conditions and generators running on liquid fuel due to lack of gas supply”.

AEMO issued an earlier warning on Wednesday morning for Victoria’s wholesale gas market “as a result of insufficient gas supply to meet forecast demand”.

Victoria’s energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the conditions were unprecedented but that we shouldn’t be worried about shortages just yet.

“While there are obviously some unprecedented conditions impacting the international gas markets, Aemo has said that at the moment the likelihood of a shortfall is sitting at ‘extremely unlikely’,” she said on Thursday.

She said the conditions were looking like they’d improve over the next seven days.

But we’re not out of the woods yet. Coal prices and gas prices are intertwined so it’s likely everything’s just going to get more expensive in the coming weeks. Water and wifi better not be next.

Image: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind