Ofgem wants views on ESO’s first half performance

Ofgem seeks industry views on how the electricity system operator has performed in the first half of the year.

The regulator’s framework regularly seeks such feedback, but this year’s review may be more interesting than most, given the events and challenges National Grid ESO has faced.

Since lockdowns in late March the ESO had to manage exceptionally low demand. In April it sought to clarify emergency powers to order disconnection of distribution connected generation, which Ofgem granted while noting that the legal text for which such urgent changes were sought had been in place for years.

The ESO also quickly launched a new footroom service, which it used over bank May holidays to pay people to help keep the system stable.

Meanwhile it struck and then extended a contract with EDF to halve the output from Sizewell B.

Despite unprecedented challenges, the ESO has kept the lights on.

However balancing costs have risen by hundreds of millions of pounds as a result. While not in scope for the first half review, suppliers are growing increasingly concerned at actions which seem perverse, such as the Capacity Market Alert issued last week, given EDF is still being paid to reduce Sizewell’s output and demand is virtually back to normal – for now at least.

As well as day-to-day running of the system, Ofgem seeks views on the ESO’s delivery of its broader remit.

The regulator seeks views by 16 October.

Details here.

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