UK Energy Emergencies Committee, Minister Leadsom start investigation


UK Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom has laid out the breadth of the state’s investigation into the blackout on Friday 9 August that left almost a million homes in England and Wales without power during peak commuting time, and for up to nine hours.

As previously reported, the minister has brought the state’s Energy Emergencies Executive Committee, which co-ordinates resilience planning in the UK’s energy sector, into the investigation. The committee, made up of government, energy regulator Ofgem, and industry representatives, met on Monday and will review the steps taken by the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) to investigate whether the correct processes and procedures were followed.

They will also investigate whether the ESO responded as per its licence conditions and that system security standards were adhered to.

The committee will report on initial findings within the next five weeks and will compile a comprehensive report within the next 3 months.

The blackout was described as the worst in a decade, and minister Leadsom has insisted on an urgent report into the incident. National Grid ESO is expected to deliver an “urgent” interim report by Friday, 16 August, and a final technical report by Friday, 6 September.

Ms 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.”