National Grid: Tight power margin call ‘business as usual’ not blackout indicator

National Grid says tight margin call does not mean blackouts
O’Hara: Business as usual

National Grid has moved to play down blackout fears following a notice of insufficient margin (NISM) yesterday.

The system operator issued its first NISM for almost four years, at lunch time, telling the power market it had insufficient power to meet the teatime peak. It called for an extra 500MW to come on stream at 1.30pm.

That led power prices to spike dramatically but the market cooled once generators and demand side providers responded to Grid’s signals.

National Grid director Cordi O’Hara said today that the call was “part of our standard work as system operator … to ask industry to respond and see what the market can deliver before we use our other tools.”

“It does not signal [impending] blackouts,” she told delegates at the Energy Live News conference in London. “It signals that reserve heading into teatime peak is not as large as we would like.”

National Grid had dispatched some of the demand side reserve, said O’Hara, “but everything was well managed.”

National Grid had made clear margins for this winter and next are tighter than usual, she added, “so you should expect us [to make calls to reserve providers]. It is part of what we do.”

“We expect to use those tools and they are working.”

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