Energy Networks Association response to Government review of the impact of severe weather
For immediate release – Thursday 6 March 2014
During recent severe weather the electricity networks have suffered some of the most significant damage seen in decades with successive storm events at Christmas and the Valentine's storm each causing disruption to the supplies of around 1 million customers.
Damage on this scale hasn’t been seen since the storm in 1987 where hundreds of thousands were without power for more than two and a half weeks. While there is clearly progress, with the vast majority of customers affected in recent storms being reconnected within 24 hours and all within 6 days, the industry is in no way complacent and any impact to customers' supplies is treated very seriously. Every effort is made to get supplies restored as quickly and safely as possible but engineers were hampered by blocked roads, flooding and constant strong winds and heavy rain.
Responding to the report published by DECC today, ENA Chief Executive David Smith said:
“We welcome the recognition of the hard work, dedication and success of the networks engineers in restoring power during the recent storms and this report has been developed in partnership with ENA and our members to ensure effective and tangible ways to enhance customers' experiences.
“We appreciate how difficult it is to be without power and so we are already working to deliver on the recommendations set out in this report to address how customers contact their network operator and how operators keep everyone informed.”
Before and after every winter period the industry discusses advance preparations and conducts a review of lessons learned, and this is something that has been especially important after the severe incidents experienced in recent months. ENA and its members have worked closely with DECC to establish where lessons can be learnt and how to improve the service to customers.
Climate change adaptation is a critical part of the networks planning with ongoing work looking at the risk from flooding, coastal erosion, increasing temperatures and wind patterns. We are building on existing research and taking part in new studies specifically focused on wind.
Notes to editors
ENA is the voice of the networks representing the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.
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