Power cut which caused travel misery to be investigated

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The power outage, which hit nearly one million people, was caused when two generators went off two minutes apart.

The government will investigate why nearly one million people were left without power for almost an hour after a national outage.

The blackout on Friday afternoon across parts of England and Wales brought travel chaos to the rail network, and affected power supply to Newcastle Airport and Ipswich Hospital.

Power had to be restored to more than 900,000 customers after the almost simultaneous loss of two power generators.

Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said the outage caused “enormous disruption”.

She said: “National Grid must urgently review and report to Ofgem.

“I will also be commissioning the government’s energy emergencies executive committee to consider the incident.”

The committee will look at whether the National Grid Electricity System Operator, which manages the electricity supply system, stuck to its processes and procedures and whether these were fit-for-purpose.

It will also examine if there were technical performance issues in the country’s power system, the efficiency of communications around the incident and how power was restored.

Professor Tim Green, co-director of the Energy Futures Laboratory, Imperial College London, said the first generator to disconnect was a gas-fired plant at Little Barford in Bedfordshire at 4.58pm.

Two minutes later, the Hornsea Offshore wind farm also disconnected.

National Grid has said it will seek to “understand the lessons learned”, while energy regulator Ofgem called for an “urgent, detailed report” on what went wrong.

Duncan Burt, operations director at National Grid, said the power cut was “incredibly rare event” but that back up systems worked well.

He said the power cut had nothing to do with the change in wind speed or variability of the wind, and that the grid was confident there was no malicious intent or cyber attack involved.

National Grid said all demand had been restored by 5.40pm on Friday but the knock on effects continued to hit the railways into Saturday.

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