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POWER CUT: Security under scrutiny by independent auditor
8:00am Thursday 10th December 2009 in News
RESULTS of an independent audit into the massive power cut in July which left thousands of homes without power, has been delayed.
Details of the audit, ordered by industry regulator Ofgem, were due to be published at the end of last month, but are not now expected to be released until Now Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett has revealed the audit report has been delayed while the independent auditor checks out the state of security at EDF Energy’s cable bridge in Dartford.
Nearly 100,000 homes in Bexley, Dartford and parts of Orpington lost their power when intruders broke into the cable bridge over Dartford Creek and caused a fire which severely damaged four major power cables.
Because there were no alternative sources of power, it took up to four days to restore electricity supplies.
Mr Evennett has been told the auditor, British Power International, is waiting for a report on EDF’s security arrangements from Kent Police, who are still investigating the cable bridge break-in.
BPI has asked for a formal report from officers who attended the break-in and asked for details of any reports from a local resident who claims to have reported previous security breaches at the site.
Mr Evennett has now written to Ofgem asking how many reports EDF received in the twelve months preceding the July power cut.
He also wants to know what each security breach was and what action was taken by EDF in response to each one.
Mr Evennett said: “If the allegations mentioned in Ofgem’s letter are true, EDF could have seriously failed all their customers.
“I repeat my call to EDF to look again at the system of goodwill payments and offer local people a fairer amount, which takes into consideration the losses experienced.”
EDF declared the power failure was an “exceptional” incident which entitled it to make lower payouts to those affected.
If the audit finds EDF failed in any way it could cost the company millions of pounds under the Interruptions Incentives Scheme.
The audit looked at the cause of the power failure, and whether it qualified as an “exceptional” incident.
It also looked at whether EDF Energy’s actions , or lack of them, were a contributory factor in what happened and whether EDF took appropriate steps to limit the number of customers affected and restored the electricity supply quickly and efficiently.
EDF Energy says work to update security at the cable bridge site is continuing.