Lightning 'partly blamed' for National Grid power cut as Ofgem launch investigation

Gareth Davies
People wait at King's Cross station in London during the power cut chaos - PA

Ofgem has launched an investigation into the National Grid power cuts after an initial report found that lightning was partly to blame for the blackout. 

The probe will attempt to establish whether the parties involved - National Grid ESO, National Grid Electricity Transmission, 12* distribution network operators in England and Wales, as well as generators RWE Generation (Little Barford Power station) and Orsted (Hornsea) - breached their licence conditions. 

 

On Friday, August 9, thousands of homes were left without power and people were left stranded on roads and trains when traffic lights and systems failed. 

A report published on August 16 found that three lightning strikes which hit the grid just north of London in quick succession reduced power from the Barford station and Hornsea windfarm.

Although the grid was struck several times by lightning, this strike at 4.25pm was the only one to have a significant affect.  

 

Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem’s Executive Director of Systems and Networks said:

"The power cuts of Friday 9 August caused interruptions to consumers’ energy and significant disruption to commuters. It’s important that the industry takes all possible steps to prevent this happening again. 

"Having now received National Grid ESO’s interim report, we believe there are still areas where we need to use our statutory powers to investigate these outages.

"This will ensure the industry learns the relevant lessons and to clearly establish whether any firm breached their obligations to deliver secure power supplies to consumers."

Any breaches discovered in the investigation could lead to a financial penalty.