National Grid redundancies proceeded power outage

The Guardian has reported that the National Grid had been cutting and replacing staff in an effort to reduce costs in the months leading up to the power outage in early August, which caused numerous transport delays during the Friday rush hour, reported on here. The outage has been attributed to failures at both the Hornsea offshore wind farm in Yorkshire, and the Little Barford gas plant in Bedfordshire. Initial speculation was directed at the high wind speeds throughout the day in question, which some thought may have been responsible for Hornsea’s disruption. This speculation was quickly dismissed by The National Grid’s Director of Operations, Duncan Burt. Ofgem subsequently launched an investigation that is still ongoing, to determine which factors led to the two nearly simultaneous disconnections.

Reporters from The Guardian have spoken to a former National Grid employee, who has revealed the firm’s recent redundancies and redeployments. According to the source, the National Grid plans to decrease its staff by 278, from 1,148 employees to 870. These cuts began in the months leading up to the power outage, and included the cuts of many experienced senior staff members. The reason these were not made public by the National Grid until now is that most of these cuts were classed as voluntary redundancies, involving severance packages described by the source as containing “very good” terms, as well as non-disclosure agreements. The former employee has claimed that the National Grid intends to replace experienced senior staff members, whose pensions cost more for the firm, with less experienced and lower paid workers. While the National Grid has not responded to claims that it is replacing staff with cheaper workers, it has stated that the changes in the firm have not impacted the National Grid’s day-to-day operations.

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