Ofgem will collect £10.5 million from three energy companies over the power cuts that happened back in August 2019. The power cuts left just over one million customers without power. The cuts also wreaked chaos with trains, on roads, as well as with Newcastle airport and a hospital in Ipswich.
The three companies include Hornsea One Ltd, a gas power station owned by RWE will each voluntarily make payments of £4.5 million to Ofgem’s redress fund.
According to Ofgem, two large power stations had their connections cut after a lightning strike on August 9th, which led to power cutoffs across much of the UK. Thousands were stranded on rail networks during rush hour, and there were major traffic disruptions for motorists on the road.
There’s also a third company, UK Power Networks, that’s also required to pay out £1.5 million for technical breach of rules, when they began reconnecting customers without being asked by the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO).
Lighting strikes are a routine matter, which is generally managed to keep power generation going. However, the cuts at the two large power stations and the smaller loss of generation at the local level trigged the issues.
A report on the event stated, “The two almost simultaneous unexpected power losses at Hornsea One Ltd offshore windfarm, co-owned by Orsted and Little Bradford Gas, and at the power station, operated by RWE present an extremely rare and unexpected event.”
The power stations reduced their output, after the lightning strike, which were “beyond the security standards resulting in a large and fast fall in frequency” that resulted in 1.1 million people losing their power.
After the power cut, all customers were reconnected by the Distribution Network Operators within 45 minutes.
Jonathan Brearley, executive director of Ofgem, said, “ Consumers and businesses rely on generators and network companies to provide a secure and stable power supply. August 9th showed how much disruption and distress is caused to consumers across the UK when it does not happen. That is why it is right that companies that were unable to keep generating have paid into our consumer redress fund.
“Our investigation has raised important questions about National Grid’s Electricity System Operator, which is why our review will look at the structure and governance of the company.
“As the energy market changes it is vitally important we futureproof the networks to ensure consumers continue to benefit from one of the most reliable electricity systems in the world.”