Power cut events (UK)

Data analysis – UK DNOs – Major power cut events Vs operational staff availability (Christmas 2013)

No. of Consumers who experienced power cuts

Power cuts were experienced throughout the UK during Christmas 2013. The number of consumers who experienced power cuts for each power distribution region is outlined as a bar chart in fig.1a, as per available data from OFGEM. The highest number (230,859) of consumers experienced power cuts in UKPN (SPN), closely followed by (228,474) of consumers in SSE(S). The number of consumers who experienced power cuts was below fifty thousand for most of other DNO companies.

consumer-power-cut-between-23-28-december-2013

Fig.1a Bar chart indicating number of consumer power cuts in the UK (from 23rd to 28th December 2013, cited in Branston, 2014, p.11)

Operational staff availability vs power outage duration (in hours)

In the endeavor to find the causes of slow and inefficient responses from UKPN & SSE, the availability of field crews on 23rd December 2013 and maximum power restoration time for all DNOs, are compared using bar chart in fig.1b. As per Branston (2014), the number of field crews available is set next to maximum power restoration time, in hours, for each DNO.

Data provided by OFGEM demonstrate a direct link between maximum power restoration time and operational staff availability at each DNO during the beginning of the event i.e. 23rd December 2013. It took as long as one hundred and fifty four hours, six point four days, for UKPN to restore power where the regulator’s requirement is a maximum eighteen hours. Thus UKPN’s lack of preparedness for what may be termed, predictable weather conditions, is exposed.

The lack of adequate numbers and availability of operation staff is one of the causes behind the longer power restoration time in the SPN region. Under NEWSAC agreement (Slegg and Faiers, 2014, p.17) DNOs could voluntarily share resources in the server weather events. Field Crewe could be mobilized in advance of the event based on weather warnings. The NEWSAC opportunities to share resources were not effectively planned by UKPN’s management with other DNOs. SPN’s poor performance on power restoration can be directly linked to the lack of planning and staff availability.

Operational staff availability vs power outage duration (in hours)

In the endeavor to find the causes of slow and inefficient responses from SPN, the availability of field crews on 23rd December 2013 and maximum power restoration time for all DNOs, are compared using bar chart in fig.1b. As per Branston (2014), the number of field crews available is set next to maximum power restoration time, in hours, for each DNO.

Data provided by OFGEM demonstrate a direct link between maximum power restoration time and operational staff availability at each DNO during the beginning of the event i.e. 23rd December 2013. It took as long as one hundred and fifty four hours, six point four days, for SPN to restore power where the regulator’s requirement is a maximum eighteen hours. Thus SPN’s lack of preparedness for what may be termed, predictable weather conditions, is exposed.

The lack of adequate numbers and availability of operation staff is one of the causes behind the longer power restoration time in the SPN region. Under NEWSAC agreement (Slegg and Faiers, 2014, p.17) DNOs could voluntarily share resources in the server weather events. Field Crewe could be mobilized in advance of the event based on weather warnings. The NEWSAC opportunities to share resources were not effectively planned by UKPN’s management with other DNOs. SPN’s poor performance on power restoration can be directly linked to the lack of planning and staff availability.

 

dno-performance

Fig.1b Staff availability vs Power restoration duration (cited in Branston, 2014, p.16)

References:

Branston, P.; 2014. ‘December 2013 Storms review – impact on electricity distribution customers’, Ofgem. [Online] Available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem/publications/86460/finaldecemb er2013stormsreview.pdf [Accessed on 10 DECEMBER 2014].
Slegg, B.; Faiers, S.; 2014. ‘Stage 2 Review of Distribution Network Operators’ performance during the December 2013 storms’. Ofgem. [Online] Available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem- publications/88914/energy people stage2stormreviewreportappendicesv1.0.pdf [Access on 22 DECEMBER 2014].

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