About 10 per cent of emergency back-up power supplies that were supposed to help avert blackouts last month failed to deliver electricity as expected, National Grid has admitted. The FTSE 100 group, whose job is to keep the lights on, said it was still looking into the “under-performance” by some of the companies that were supposed to provide a rapid response on August 9. National Grid had not procured enough back-up power supplies to compensate for the losses, resulting in a sharp drop in the frequency on the grid. Electricity had to be cut to a million homes to restore balance. National Grid says it had enough back-up to cover a 1,000 megawatt (MW) loss, which was all that was required under Ofgem-approved standards. However, its own report shows some of this backup failed to deliver. Tom Edwards, of Cornwall Insight, the energy consultancy said it appeared National Grid had been relying on batteries and small generators for the frequency response and did not appear to have had any pumped storage plants active. He questioned whether there was “enough diversity in the provision”. National Grid has called for a review of whether security standards should be increased so it should hold more back-up power plants. A National Grid spokesman said that “holding 1,022MW of response should be more than adequate to cover for the largest single loss of 1,000MW on the system in any one incident”.
Times 13th Sept 2019 read more »
National Grid began cutting hundreds of staff from the unit responsible for keeping the lights on several months before Britain’s biggest blackout in a decade, the Guardian has learned. The owner of Britain’s power system is reducing the workforce at its energy system operator division by a quarter, under a programme that will take aim at the part of the company responsible for managing the electricity system. The 1,148-strong team will shrink by almost 280 staff to 870, through a mix of voluntary redundancies and redeployments, in plans which have been under discussion since last summer. The energy giant, which made profits of £1.8bn in the last financial year and hiked dividends to its shareholders, is under investigation by the industry regulator and an emergency government committee following the 9 August blackouts which left millions without electricity, and caused major travel disruption. One former National Grid employee said hundreds of senior staff have already left the unit, but the cuts were not made public because the majority were voluntary redundancies and agreed on “very good” terms which are protected by non-disclosure agreements.
Guardian 12th Sept 2019 read more »