Three energy companies will pay a combined £10.5 million for their role in the 9 August blackout that left more than a million people across Britain without electricity.
RWE Generation and Orsted, the two firms running the generation plants that went offline when lightning struck causing the power cut, have agreed to pay energy regulator Ofgem £4.5 million each.
In addition, UK Power Networks, the distribution network operator for the South East England, the East of England and London, voluntarily offered Ofgem £1.5 million after it began reconnecting customers without permission of National Grid.
The technical breach had no impact on the events of 9 August. However, the false-start could have jeopardised system recovery.
The energy regulator will put the fines into a redress fund overseen by the charity Energy Saving Trust.
Ofgem’s investigation into the August outage also raised several concerns with National Grid’s processes and procedures and whether they needed to adapt to “the complex and changing world it operates in”.
It is already conducting a review into National Grid’s structure and governance.
The concerns highlighted in this investigation will inform that ongoing work, with the regulator warning that “enforcement action remains an option”.
“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 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.”
– Jonathan Brealey, Ofgem Executive Director