Extreme weather: Grid operators ordered to review storm response plans

By James Murray for BusinessGreen

Business Secretary announces deadlines for network operators to enhance their storm preparedness plans following disruption caused by Storm Arwen

Grid operators have today been ordered to review their severe weather escalation plans and improve their communications systems, following the widespread blackouts that followed last year’s Storm Arwen.

The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) today published the formal review of the electricity industry’s response to Storm Arwen in November 2021, which saw around one million households experience power outages.

The review from the government and watchdog Ofgem found that network operators had paid over £34m in direct compensation to households and businesses and have agreed to pay a further £10m in redress payments.

But it also concluded that the industry needed to take a series of steps to enhance the resilience of grid infrastructure ahead of future extreme weather events, which scientists predict will become more frequent and severe as climate impacts intensify.

Specifically, the report confirms plans for a new ‘outcomes-focused physical resilience standard’, which will define resilience standards in terms of the outcomes for consumers, as opposed to the current standards, which are solely defined as measures to be implemented. Meanwhile, every Distribution Network Operator (DNO) has been ordered to review their severe weather escalation plans, to ensure all relevant factors that can influence the scale of impacts, such as wind direction, are considered.

The government said it would also update industry best practice to ensure network operators can quickly identify faults and safely assess the extent of network damage earlier in a storm, exploring how smart meter data and technology can help enhance understanding of where damage has occurred.

Read the full story from BusinessGreen here.