UK network operators under scrutiny over Storm Arwen outages

On Tuesday, power network companies put more political pressure on the widespread power outages caused by Storm Irwen as MP demanded to know if enough was spent protecting the UK grid from extreme weather. I was exposed.

UK business secretary Kwasi Kwaten told five companies whose networks were damaged by Arwen on Tuesday that their recovery work was “simply unacceptable.”

Arwen, which struck all night on November 26, caused devastating damage to the grid in northern England and the Scotland region, initially powering nearly a million homes.

The new scrutiny was done as follows Another storm The engineer struck Britain while engineers were still working to reconnect the last 500 homes in northeastern England, which had been out of power for 10 days after Awen’s attack.

so Hearing Labor Party member Darren Jones, chairman of the House of Commons’ Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, questioned whether the six groups with local networks had invested adequately in resilience.

Arwen’s impact on the UK power grid is spotlighting a highly profitable industry that normally operates under radar. Industry regulator Ofgem said last week review For responding to storms.

More than a quarter Typical electricity and gas bills will be used to cover the costs of maintaining and improving the UK gas and electricity grid.

Parliamentarians said that much of the worst damage caused by Arwen was due to trees blown away because of the northerly winds rather than the westerlies.

“This storm caused certain problems, and the wind direction was one of them,” Paul McGimpsey, director of regulation for the Energy Networks Association’s industry group, told the Commission. He said £ 733 million has been spent on resilience over the last five years.

Jones replied: [on resilience] The years don’t seem like a lot of investment from my point of view. “

The delay in recovery has prompted intense political oversight of power grid operators such as Northern Powergrid, Scottish Power and SSE.

The Northern Powergrid, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, has received particularly strong criticism for that. Lack of response and communication.. It is responsible for 500 homes and businesses that are currently out of power for 10 days. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

Paul Howell, a conservative member of the Energy Commission, said why it was “different. [electricity network] Operators in different parts of the country have radically different levels of response quality. “

The damage caused by the first major winter storm is still being repaired, and many parts of Britain are preparing for further turmoil as Stormbarra rushes from the Atlantic Ocean. There were early reports of power outages in Northern Ireland, Wales, and parts of England. The Met Office did not expect roses to be as serious as Arwen. In addition to snowstorms and heavy rains, gusts of about 80mph were recorded.

ENA defended the members’ response to Arwen, claiming that the Resilience Fund was used to protect the network, including logging and flood protection.

It is clear that there is a “lesson to be learned”, but it highlights the seriousness of the storm, which has caused damage to 4,500 often remote areas throughout the grid.

However, Dieter Helm, a professor of economic policy at Oxford University, was critical of the sector’s record since privatization in the early 1990s. “I think distribution companies are well regulated, but I think the history of the last 30 years is poor performance. It’s not surprising if there is a problem with the resilience of the network.” He said.

Industry executives govern the investment plans of networked companies, 7.7% to £ 795 million approved for resilience during the first five years of an eight-year regulatory settlement with Ofgem that will take effect until March 2023. Admitted that there was an expense.

But they argued that it wasn’t in line with inadequate investment, as regulators provided the industry with incentives to use new technologies and create possible efficiencies to keep consumer costs down.

Andy Manning, an economic regulation expert at consumer group Citizens Advice, said it was “too early” whether inadequate investment in resilience was a factor in storm damage, which is one of the focus of Ofgem’s research. It is one.

“We don’t have that level of detail [yet].. Was this just an extreme weather event, or was it because we didn’t invest enough in resilience? ” He said.

Citizen counseling previously warned that the sector is allowed to make “Billions of excess profits” Ofgem’s regime is too generous at the expense of consumers. Regulators have promised to reduce profits as part of the next regulatory “price control” period from 2023 to 2028.

However, one senior industry executive warned Ofgem of using Arwen as a stick to beat the industry. He pointed out that it would take billions of pounds to prepare the grid for a “green” switchover to electric vehicles and heat pumps. “Networks need fair profits to invest and innovate to achieve Net Zero,” he said.

UK network operators under scrutiny over Storm Arwen outages Source link UK network operators under scrutiny over Storm Arwen outages

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