Storm Arwen electricity distribution disruption review: terms of reference
Published 9 December 2021
Over the weekend of 26-27 November 2021 Storm Arwen brought high winds, rain and cold temperatures across the country, with wind speeds up to 100 mph seen in some northern regions. Significant disruption was caused to services such as transport and energy, resulting in around 1 million customers losing electricity supplies. Though most of these customers had their power restored within 48 hours, a small but significant number experienced a disruption of up to a week.
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has therefore commissioned the Energy Emergencies Executive Committee (E3C) to undertake a comprehensive review of the incident, to identify lessons and recommendations for improving the resilience of electricity networks and customer communications to severe weather events.
E3C will identify lessons and make recommendations regarding the energy sector, including both Distribution Network Operators, and Transmission System Operators. In particular E3C will:
1. System resilience
a) Assess the direct and secondary impacts of the Storm across Great Britain electricity networks
b) Identify areas of good practice and where improvements are required for system resilience
2. Protecting customers
a) Consider resourcing strategies for field staff and customer communications staff
b) Consider the timeliness and content of public communications during the incident, including with vulnerable customers, and those off for a prolonged period
c) Support to vulnerable customers, including timely provision of welfare support
d) Responsiveness in providing compensation
3. Additional response support
a) Consider the effectiveness of the mutual aid processes between Network Operators when dealing with large scale and prolonged events
b) Interactions with Local Resilience Forums to support response.
This review will sit distinct from, but complementary to, Ofgem’s own regulatory processes. Ofgem is a member of E3C and will be engaged with this review. Where appropriate to do so, BEIS will facilitate the sharing of evidence between both reviews.
E3C will submit a final report to the Secretary of State by the end of March 2022, with an interim report within 8 weeks. This will include:
- an assessment of the event
- recommendations and lessons for the future
- an implementation plan to deliver recommendations
- a published report and plan
BEIS will provide secretariat for the review.