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Calls for better electricity supply as Ofgem investigates National Grid

13 August 2019

Concerns have been expressed over the National Grid and its operating policies following last week's widespread power cuts.

Although described by the National Grid as "incredibly rare", last Friday's incident followed three other incidents when electricity supply fell below the normal 50Hz, according to The Guardian.

It quoted "industry sources" as stating that the National Grid had known about the increasing potential for black-outs "for years".

With last Friday's incident caused by a gas-fired power station and a North Sea wind farm going offline simultaneously, calls have been made to increase support infrastructure.

Included in this are contracts with small-scale electric plant owners, which can be combined to feed power back into the grid to address falls in output.

With last week's power cuts caused by a fall to a frequency of 48.88Hz, July saw a fall to 49.58, a drop to 49.5Hz in June and to 49.55 in May, said The Guardian.

Although a National Grid spokesperson said there was "no trend or prediction of more frequency excursions", this was contested by others in the industry.

Anesco chair Steve Shine said the National Grid "have actually been aware of this potential issue for many years".

With growing appreciation of the role played by facilities ranging from factories to supermarkets, contracted to temporarily cut energy demand to support the grid, calls are increasing for more effort in this area.

PFM recently reported on the news that supermarket Tesco had investigated this concept, with the latest developments showing more potential for facilities of all types to follow suit.

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