Consumers in Britain have contributed to a marked increase in demand for energy in the northern hemisphere as snowy weather takes its toll in a number of countries.
The UK has been particularly hard hit, with excessively heavy snow affecting many regions as temperatures struggle to get above freezing, Reuters reports.
Approximately two-thirds of Britain's homes are heated by gas, with the cold spell having caused domestic gas prices to rise dramatically. Worryingly, the freezing temperatures are expected to last for another fortnight.
The bad weather, which has also affected France, is particularly unusual given that the two countries are usually protected from the harsh weather usually seen in central and eastern Europe.
Britain has experienced one of its coldest ever Decembers, with the current demand for gas approaching record highs. In the US, the news provider says, heating demand has increased above the 40-year-average.
Hundreds of schools have closed around Britain, while travel plans for thousands of people have been affected.
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