Lightning strike ‘partly to blame’ for power cut

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PA Media

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All services in and out of King’s Cross station were suspended after the blackout

A lightning strike and the sudden loss of two large generators from the system were the reasons that nearly a million people lost power in England and Wales earlier this month, a report has found.

The National Grid outage affected homes, businesses and transport, and while power was restored quite quickly, disruption continued into the next day.

Regulator Ofgem has opened an investigation into National Grid and other companies involved.

That could involve a financial penalty.

A final, technical report from National Grid is due to be published by 6 September.

Ofgem said its investigation “would try to establish what lessons can be drawn from the power cut to ensure that steps can be taken to further improve the resilience of Britain’s energy network”.

Rare and unexpected event

The power cut, which happened just before 17:00 BST on Friday 10 August, caused blackouts across the Midlands, the South East, South West, North West and North East of England, and Wales.

Thousands of homes lost power, people were stranded on trains and traffic lights stopped working

Power was restored by 17:40 BST, but problems on the rail network carried on over the weekend.

Two almost simultaneous unexpected power losses at Hornsea and Little Barford occurred independently of one another – but each associated with the lightning strike.