The head of a choose committee has reacted with incredulity after an power boss blamed the way in which the wind blew for exacerbating issues triggered by a devastating storm that cut off provides to elements of the UK.
Paul McGimpsey, director of regulation on the Energy Networks Association (ENA), instructed MPs on the business power and industrial technique choose committee that storm Arwen “has caused particular issues and the wind direction was one of those”.
Labour MP Darren Jones, chair of the committee, stated the networks “ought to be prepared for wind coming in multiple directions” and prompt not sufficient had been spent on resilience after earlier devastating storms.
Thousands of houses in north east England are nonetheless with out energy 9 days after Arwen struck and at the moment are bracing themselves for a contemporary battering from storm Barra.
Energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has described the state of affairs as “unacceptable” whereas Labour has stated it could have been taken extra critically if it had occurred within the south.
Mr McGimpsey of the ENA – which represents community operators within the UK and Ireland – instructed MPs at Tuesday’s choose committee listening to that there have been “further lessons to be learned”.
He added that “our communications with customers have perhaps not been what they could have been during this event and certainly that’s going to be a key part of the review in coming weeks”.
But Mr Jones instructed him: “We can’t just keep saying every time this happens ‘lessons will be learned and we’ll do a review’.”
He requested what had been achieved to enhance resilience since final time.
Mr McGimpsey replied that over the past 5 years £730m had been spent on resilience throughout the networks “focusing on flood defences, cutting down trees etc”.
He added: “One of the particular issues we have faced with this storm which has been different to what we faced in the past – the wind direction coming from the north east.
“It isn’t prevailing winds that you’d count on from the south and as such in some, many events, bushes would fall otherwise onto the strains.”
Mr Jones said: “Can I simply examine that I’m listening to this proper?
“We planned for resilience work on the basis that the wind would only come in a certain direction?”
Mr McGimpsey stated: “No, I’m not saying that.
“I’m simply saying that this storm has triggered explicit points and the wind route was a type of.
“So considerable work has been done on the network to reinforce, upgrade – but there were particulars of this storm which did cause issues which are causing the problems that we can only too well see.”
Mr Jones responded: “It does seem to me that we ought to be prepared for wind coming in multiple directions and £730m over that number of years doesn’t sound like a lot of investment from my perspective.”
Last week, power regulator Ofgem warned that community operators that failed to revive energy to houses rapidly sufficient following Arwen confronted enforcement motion and criticised an absence of communication from the business.