Measures to make Britain's power network more resilient planned, after August power outage

3 Jan 2020 01:52 PM

Government-backed report into the blackouts in August that affected over 1 million customers in Great Britain, published today.

The Energy Emergencies Executive Committee (E3C) has today (3 January) unveiled government-backed plans to strengthen Great Britain’s power network and make it more resilient to outages in future.

Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom has confirmed that the action plan from today’s report will be implemented in full, to help prevent and manage future power disruption events, ensuring Britain continues to have one of the world’s most reliable electricity systems in the world by:

Read the E3C report.

Today’s E3C report was requested by Ms Leadsom following the power outage of 9 August, which affected over 1 million customers across Great Britain. The report focuses on the areas of highest impact before, during and after the incident.

Power was restored to disconnected customers within 45 minutes, but the knock-on impact to essential services such as rail were felt for several days after.

Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:

The disruption caused to people and businesses by the power cut in August was unacceptable. However, customers can be confident that we have one of the most robust energy systems in the world and today’s report will help us reduce the risks of it happening again and ensure our energy sector is better prepared in the future.

Great Britain has a diverse energy supply and a strong security of supply, which has helped towards halving the number of power outages since 1990. As the UK works to eradicate its contribution to climate change by 2050, the actions in this report will form part of a wider package of work already underway across government and industry to ensure the UK’s energy system remains resilient as we transition to clean and affordable energy.

The E3C is made up of representatives from across industry and government including BEIS, Ofgem, the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), Distribution and transmission network operators, generators and suppliers and gas distribution network operators.

The E3C will take the actions set out in this report, along with the findings from Ofgem’s investigation, to drive forward changes across the sector. The committee will provide quarterly updates to government and Ofgem.

Alongside the E3C report, Ofgem has today published the conclusions of its own investigations into the incident last August, focusing on lessons learnt for the energy sector and voluntary payments totalling £10.5 million for companies involved in the power outages.

The Ofgem report focuses on the performance of the ESO, National Grid Electricity Transmission, Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) in England and Wales and the 2 generators involved. The Office of Rail and Road has also published findings into the impact on train services.

Notes to Editors

  1. Read the final E3C report.
  2. The E3C is a partnership between government, the regulator and industry, which co-ordinates resilience planning across the energy industry. It facilitates 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.
  3. The power outages were due to the loss of a mix of generation including an offshore wind farm operated by Hornsea One and a gas power station operated by RWE.
  4. Ofgem’s State of the Energy Market 2019 report states that the number of power interruptions has fallen by around 50% since 1990, whilst the length of those interruptions has fallen by around 60%
  5. The 10 recommendations proposed by the E3C report are as follows: