Shortcomings revealed in power cut investigation

  • Hon Dr Megan Woods
  • No household should have had their power disconnected
  • 18 recommendations, mostly EA and Transpower related
  • The EA must strengthen its oversight of the system operator
  • An investigation into power cuts that left more than 34,000 households without electricity on one of the coldest nights of the year has found that there was no need for any disconnections, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced.

    The report of the Investigation into electricity supply interruptions of 9 August 2021, headed by former Cabinet Minister Pete Hodgson and assisted by specialist technical advisor Erik Westergaard, has been published today.

    “The investigation sets out a number of key findings, crucially that turning off the power for more than 34,000 households for up to two hours, simply need not have happened, and there was enough discretionary load to keep the lights on.

    “The report also found that Transpower, as the electricity system operator, had inadequate visibility of the extent of that discretionary load and that the Electricity Authority must review and strengthen its oversight of the system operator.

    “I am writing to the chairs of Transpower and the Electricity Authority requesting they consider the recommendations in the report that relate to them and provide me with quarterly updates on progress.

    “I do not want households to be put in this situation again. Kiwis deserve more. By implementing the report’s 18 recommendations I believe we will be better placed in future.

    “It is also clear that the market requires much greater demand side participation if greater electrification and decarbonisation is to happen. In future better use of hot water control, known as ripple control, and other technologies are likely to be key to this.

    “The investigation’s other findings included praise for the way system operator staff acted during a challenging evening, and for the responsiveness of electricity distribution businesses to the event.

    “I would like to thank the investigation team for its comprehensive report. It drew on and analysed data and information from Transpower, the Electricity Authority, and other key information. As part of the investigation more than 25 interviews were conducted with a range of market participants and key stakeholders,” said Megan Woods.

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