Thursday, May 29, 2008

Great Britain: How two tiny glitches plunged 500,000 homes into the dark

From the Times of London:

Two relatively minor technical glitches within two minutes of each other triggered the most serious disruption to Britain’s energy supply network in more than 20 years this week.

But power industry insiders said that the shutdown, which led to blackouts in as many as 500,000 homes across the country on Tuesday, could have been even worse. “We could very easily have lost the whole system and it could have taken several days for it all to come back on,” one said.

Last night Ofgem, the power industry watchdog, threatened to start a full investigation. It said it had demanded a report from National Grid and would then decide how to proceed.

Ofgem was responding to claims that National Grid should have had sufficient spare capacity on hand to meet the loss in supply which followed unexpected shutdowns from two of Britain’s biggest power stations....MORE