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Ofgem launches power outage probe as it questions initial report from National Grid

Ofgem said it would start its own inquiry into what happened after receiving National Grid’s findings as it felt there were “still areas where we need to use our statutory powers to investigate these outages”

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Commuter carnage: The power cut earlier this month affected rush hour train services as well as homes and businesses

Britain’s energy regulator has launched an investigation into mass power cuts across the UK that caused travel chaos earlier this month.

Ofgem said it will look at whether National Grid PLC (LON:NG.) and a number of local electricity operators breached their licence conditions.

Thousands of passengers were left stranded on trains for hours after the power outage on 9 August. More than a million UK homes and businesses were also affected.

National Grid’s initial report found that a lightening strike and the sudden loss of two large electricity generators caused the power cut.

Ofgem said it would start its own inquiry into what happened after receiving National Grid’s findings as it felt there were “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,” Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem’s executive director of systems and networks, said.

“The opening of this investigation does not imply that Ofgem has made any findings about non-compliance for any of the companies mentioned at this early stage of the investigation. 

“However, if evidence does emerge in the course of the investigation enforcement action could follow.”

Regulatory probe

Ofgem will investigate whether National Grid d holds enough back-up power reserves for when a generator fails and whether the power companies involved met their obligations with respect to the transmission fault and took the correct approach towards disconnecting customers.

The regulator will look into the role played by National Grid ESO, National Grid Electricity Transmission and 12 distribution network operators in England and Wales.

It will also investigate Orsted, which owns the Hornsea offshore wind farm in the North Sea that lost power, and German utility RWE, whose Little Barford gas plant in Cambridgeshire was also hit.

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