ESB and Carrington pay £6M for misleading data that inflated power sales to system operator

ESB Independent Generation Trading (IGT) and Carrington Power have agreed to pay £6 million for breaching wholesale energy market regulations, Ofgem says. IGT controls Carrington’s output.
Between March 2019 and September 2020, the companies regularly submitted misleading data to system operator NGESO about the minimum amount of energy the Carrington power plant could supply. As a result NGESO bought more energy from the plant than it needed to in its routine activities in balancing supply and demand.

NGESO relies on receiving accurate information from generators to make sure it can balance the system most efficiently. But data from Carrington inflated the so-called Stable Export Limit (the minimum level at which the plant could, under stable conditions, export power) and its Minimum Non-Zero Time (effectively the shortest time it could operate). Both meant that NGESO had to buy more power from IGT than necessary.
Ofgem said the two companies considered their approach to be compliant with their obligations but the regulator found that the companies did not have the internal processes in place to ensure staff understood and applied the rules correctly.

The companies have now improved their compliance processes and training around market manipulation and submitting data to NGESO. They have admitted that they inadvertently breached the rules and have agreed to pay £6M to the energy redress fund to support consumers in vulnerable situations.

Cathryn Scott, Regulatory Director at Ofgem said: “Ofgem has taken strong action against another generator for submitting inaccurate data to National Grid Electricity System Operator. Data accuracy is essential for keeping the costs of running the electricity system as low as possible for consumers. This case sends a clear signal to all generators that we are closely scrutinising their conduct and will not hesitate to act if they fall short of the standards we expect.”