Gordon MP Richard Thomson has welcomed the publication of a report by Ofgem – the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets - following a six-month review launched in December 2021 to establish what went wrong during the response to Storm Arwen - which saw thousands of households in the North-east left without power for a number of days - and what industry needs to change to provide a more effective response to severe weather events.
Mr Thomson recently visited Pitfichie Forest to see SSEN Distribution engineers carrying out maintenance work in the aftermath of the storms.
Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:
“This is a welcome report which has 20 recommendations which should help strengthen the electricity network and provide customers with an improved response during times of power outages.
“Key among these are the recommendations that the current network infrastructure and guidance, including vegetation management and overhead line designs should be reviewed. This was clearly a major issue during Storm Arwen as blown trees brought down an unprecedented number of power lines.
“In addition, a standard-based approach to organisational resilience to improve the speed of customer restoration is recommended. The review notes that current standards and guidance that support the network operators in providing a reliable network are more focussed on preventing outages, rather than how to respond during a power outage. It has to be said that the prevention strategy has worked quite well during the past couple of decades but, with severe weather events unfortunately becoming more common, building resilience by investing in the power network will be more important than ever.”
Notes: Photograph attached shows Richard Thomson MP (r) being briefed by David Thain, Site Supervisor for SSEN Distribution, during a visit to Pitfichie Forest to look at resilience operations.
The report by Ofgem can be found here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/ofgem-publishes-full-report-following-six-month-review-networks-response-storm-arwen