UK Government review into Storm Arwen response launched

  • Comprehensive review into Storm Arwen response launched to build a more resilient power system
  • all customers reconnected to power after Storm Arwen saw nearly one million experience outages
  • Business and Energy Secretary calls on network companies to ensure compensation reaches customers without delay

A review into how energy network operators responded to Storm Arwen and the resilience of infrastructure has been launched by the Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, today (Thursday 9 December) after all those impacted have now had power restored.

Read the Terms of Reference for the Review

Announced last week, the review will identify any issues with, and make recommendations for, improving the resilience of electricity networks in Great Britain. It will also look at the timeliness and content of public communications by Distribution Network Operators during the incident, support offered to vulnerable customers and their responsiveness in providing compensation.

Whilst power has been restored to those impacted by Storm Arwen, the government has been clear that it was unacceptable that thousands of homes were left without power for so long. The review will ensure lessons are learned and necessary measures are taken to mitigate future potential disruption.

It comes the same day as the industry regulator Ofgem launches its own review looking at how each individual network operator performed against the legal standards they are required to. Where they did not meet these, Ofgem will consider if appropriate enforcement action needs to be taken against them.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

I’m extremely grateful to the thousands of engineers, volunteers, Armed Forces personnel and emergency responders who worked tirelessly to get nearly one million people reconnected to power. They did so with unbelievable professionalism in the face of one of the most extreme weather events in recent years.

While I’m pleased all affected customers are now back online, it is completely unacceptable so many were left without power for so long. There is an urgent need to identify and resolve a number of issues which came to light during the Storm Arwen response, and the review I’ve commissioned, alongside Ofgem’s, will ensure any failings are addressed.

Storm Arwen brought severe weather including high winds of up to 100mph, rain, snow, and ice – causing the most severe disruption to power supplies since 2005. The UK government deployed military personnel in areas worst hit by the storm with over 300 on the ground providing support in parts of England and Scotland.

The review comes after the Business and Energy Secretary wrote to network companies earlier this week, setting expectations to deliver compensation to affected customers without delay, to proactively notify them of their eligibility, to simplify the application process, and to investigate where appropriate other discretionary compensation.

Ofgem also recently announced that the £700 limit on compensation has been removed, allowing customers to be compensated up to £140 a day for every day off power after the first 48 hours.

The outcome of the Department’s review will be published by 31 March 2022, with a commitment to publish an interim report within 8 weeks.

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