1m customers hit

Energy firms ordered to pay out £10.5m for power cut

Engineer working on power lines

Outages hit homes and commuters

Three energy companies have been ordered to pay £10.5 million into a compensation fund after more than one million people were left without power.

Outages occurred independently at Hornsea offshore windfarm and Little Barford gas powered station on 9 August wiping out 5% of the UK’s output.

Hornsea One, co-owned by Orsted, and RWE, which operates Barford, have each agreed to pay out £4.5 million for not remaining connected after the lightning strike. UK Power Networks will also pay out £1.5 million after a technical breach of rules.

Payments will be made into Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund. Ofgem also identified issues surrounding National Grid Electricity System Operator’s (ESO) management of the system.

The outages followed moments after a lightning strike hit a transmission circuit.

There was travel chaos during rush hour in London and the southeast. Traffic lights were knocked out, flights grounded and passengers were stranded on halted trains for hours. Passengers travelling from Edinburgh to London were stuck on a train for an extra eight hours.

Euston and King’s Cross train stations were brought to a standstill and train signals across parts of southern England were also disabled.

Ofgem has also made recommendations to ensure the UK continues to have one of the world’s most reliable electricity systems in the world, particularly as more small scale generation is connected to the system.

Jonathan Brearley, Executive Director, said: “Consumers and businesses rely on generators and network companies to provide a secure and stable power supply. August 9 showed how much disruption and distress is caused to consumers across the UK when this 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.

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