Cover of MoneyWeek magazine issue no 461

Treasure trove

13 November 2009 / Issue 461

Time to stock up on gold... PLUS:

  • Investors should get out of Lloyds now
  • Has Warren Buffett lost his magic touch?
  • Why sex sells in a recession


Why I’m stockpiling candles

There was a power cut in my neighbourhood on Tuesday night. At around 7pm the lights dimmed, then went out. We looked out of the window. Nothing. No street lights and, apart from a few candles in the homes of the well prepared, no light from any of the other houses.

For a few minutes it was mildly entertaining (for the children, at least). Then it got a bit irritating. The whole episode gave me nasty flashbacks to my childhood in 1970s Ireland. Think lukewarm shared baths, no central heating, permanently damp bedding and intermittent electricity. It isn’t a time I want to re-live.

That’s a shame, given that the government’s energy strategy, or lack of it, pretty much guarantees I’ll have to. Last month Ofgem’s chief executive Alistair Buchanan suggested that, due to the UK’s failure to address its rising electricity needs and soon-to-be-falling electricity supply (eight of our major oil and coal-fired stations are to shut by 2015, as are four of our older nuclear stations), we’re likely to see proper blackouts from 2013.

• Read the full editor’s letter here: Why I’m stockpiling candles