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POWER CUT: Report on who was to blame delayed yet again
1:20pm Thursday 11th March 2010 in News
A REPORT on who was to blame for the power cut which plunged thousands of people into darkness for up to four days, has been delayed again.
Energy watchdog Ofgem was due to make public the results of an auditor’s investigation into last July’s EDF Energy power, cut by the end of February.
It had initially promised the report in November last year.
Now it is suggesting the report will not be made public until May.
Ofgem asked for an independent auditor’s report on the incident, which affected nearly 100,000 people in Bexley, Dartford and parts of Orpington.
Some people were left without any power for four days.
The power cut was caused when someone broke into an EDF Energy site in Dartford where four major power cables were carried over Dartford Creek on a cable bridge.
During the break-in the cables caught fire, causing considerable damage.
Kent police were unable to establish whether those who broke in were just vandals intent on causing damage, or thieves trying to steal copper wiring to sell for scrap.
Police said their investigation was hampered by a lack of CCTV and the isolation of the site which meant there were no witnesses.
EDF Energy had problems trying to restore power quickly to those who were affected, because there were no alternative power sources.
And the company was forced to bring in the largest number of generators every deployed in London, to provide an intermittent power supply.
EDF Energy declared the incident “an exceptional event” which meant it could not be held to blame and could offer compensation of only £50 to anyone without power for more than 24 hours.
Ofgem asked the auditor to decide whether the power cut was exceptional or whether EDF Energy’s actions , or lack of them, were a contributory factor in what happened.
The auditor was also asked to decide whether EDF took appropriate steps to limit the number of customers affected and restored the electricity supply quickly and efficiently.
If the report finds EDF Energy was partially to blame, it could affect the amount of compensation due to those who made a claim.
It could also cost EDF Energy millions of pounds under the industry’s Interruptions Incentives Scheme.
In the meantime, it has improved security at the site and is repairing the damage, which could take two years to complete.