Press release

Authority's final review maintains Transpower's errors led to 9 August power cuts

  • Compliance

The Electricity Authority (Authority) has completed its final review of the 9 August 2021 power cuts which left 34,000 customers without electricity on one of the coldest nights of the year.

The Phase 2 review, published today, provides new observations and a summary of the various reports and investigations looking into the 9 August events already conducted by the Authority, system operator (Transpower), and the Ministerial investigation.

The review confirms the earlier findings of its Phase one report, and the ministerial investigation, that Transpower’s coordination and communication failures meant consumers were disconnected unnecessarily on 9 August.

"From the outset, our priority ahead of Winter 2022 has been to ensure the system operator is better prepared in the event of an emergency, and we’re very confident that good progress has been made," Authority Chief Executive James Stevenson-Wallace said.

"As contract managers for the system operator, we’ve learnt valuable lessons from these events and as recommended in the Ministerial investigation, we will be holding Transpower more firmly to the rules and contracts in its performance as system operator," Mr Stevenson-Wallace said.

The Authority says the system operator has made significant improvements to its communication tools and processes since 9 August, and that it will continue with a rigorous assurance process to ensure all recommendations are addressed.

"The system operator will be actioning our recommendation to lead its first industry-wide simulation exercise on May 26 - based on managing a hypothetical grid emergency where supply is forecast to fall below demand," Mr Stevenson-Wallace said.

"This is a critical preparedness exercise to put the system operator’s changes to the test and to ensure its communications and processes are effective and will minimise impacts on customers in any future events."

On 19 April 2022, the Authority also announced its decision to make a formal complaint to the Rulings Panel in regards to alleged code breaches by the system operator on 9 August.

The Rulings Panel is an independent body that deals with formal complaints of code breaches. If a complaint is upheld, the Panel can impose penalties, award costs or compensation and recommend code amendments.

An Undesirable Trading Situation investigation related to the events of 9 August is still underway and open for consultation until Wednesday May 4 2022.

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