Leadsom sets out scope of investigation into power cuts

Leadsom sets out scope of investigation into power cuts

The government has set out the scope of its review into the actions of the National Grid Electricity System Operator after Friday's power cuts.

The Energy Emergencies Executive Committee will establish what happened to cause the outage and if correct procedures were followed. It will also consider whether improvements are needed to prevent future power cuts and better respond if they do occur, including minimising impacts on people and essential services.

The outage, which was caused when two major generators disconnected from the transmission system, led to major disruption across the UK's power and transport networks with around one million customers affected.

The committee met for the first time on Monday (12 August) and will provide a report on initial findings within five weeks to Andrea Leadsom, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It will then submit a comprehensive report within 12 weeks.

This review will complement the investigation being undertaken by energy regulator Ofgem into how the electricity operator responded in line with its licence conditions and system security standards. It will advise if any further actions need to be taken.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: "Friday's power outages caused significant chaos and disruption to hundreds of thousands of people. National Grid is urgently reviewing what happened and will shortly report to Ofgem to consider what action may need to be taken.

"National Grid has already confirmed that the incident was not linked to the variability of wind power, a clean, renewable energy source that the government is investing in as we work towards becoming a net zero emissions economy by 2050. Friday's incident does however demonstrate the need to have a diverse energy mix.

"I have formally commissioned the government's Energy Emergencies Executive Committee to review the emergency response and recovery procedures for our energy system."

The review is designed to identify lessons and recommendations for the prevention and management of future power disruption events. In particular it will:

  • Assess direct and secondary impacts of the event across GB electricity networks
  • Identify areas of good practice and where improvements are required for system resilience
  • Consider load shedding in regard to essential service customers and prioritisation
  • Consider timeliness and content of public communications during the incident
  • Make recommendations for essential service resilience to power disruptions.

The Energy Emergencies Executive Committee is a partnership between government, the regulator and industry which co-ordinates resilience planning across the energy industry. It ensures a joined-up approach to emergency response and recovery, identifying risks and processes to manage the impact of emergencies affecting the supply of gas and/or electricity to consumers in Great Britain.

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