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National Grid faces inquiry into power cut that hit 1m

AN INVESTIGATION is being launched into the power cut that affected around 1million people.

Friday’s blackout brought chaos to the rail network (above) and affected power at Newcastle Airport and Ipswich Hospital, reportedly after the almost simultaneous loss of two generators.

Business and energy secretary Andrea Leadsom said: ‘National Grid must review and report to Ofgem. I will be commissioning the energy emergencies executive committee to consider the incident.’ She added ‘enormous disruption’ was caused.

The parliamentary committee will look at whether National Grid, which manages electricity supply, stuck to its processes and procedures. It will examine any performance issues, efficiency of communications and how power was restored. National Grid said it would seek to ‘understand the lessons learned’, while regulator Ofgem called for a detailed report.

Prof Tim Green, of Imperial College London’s Energy Futures Laboratory, said the first generator, in Bedfordshire, disconnected at 4.58pm. Two minutes later, Hornsea’s offshore wind farm disconnected.

National Grid said all demand was restored by 5.40pm but knock-on effects hit railways into Saturday.

Duncan Burt, of National Grid, told the BBC the loss of the generators triggered electrical demand being disconnected across the country to ‘keep the rest of the system safe’.

He added wind speed changes and ‘malicious intent’ were not involved in the ‘incredibly rare event’.