Investigation into power problems begins
ENERGY Minister Brian Wilson has promised to act on the findings of an investigation into the performance of 24seven after last weekend's storms. Colchester based company British Power International were appointed on Friday by the Department of Trade and Industry to probe the way 24seven handled the storm's aftermath and are today instigating a fact-finding mission.
ENERGY Minister Brian Wilson has promised to act on the findings of an investigation into the performance of 24seven after last weekend's storms.
Colchester based company British Power International were appointed on Friday by the Department of Trade and Industry to probe the way 24seven handled the storm's aftermath and are today instigating a fact-finding mission.
All eight power companies in England and Wales are being scrutinised by the company, with 24seven coming under particular focus.
All aspects of the company will be investigated to gauge their performance and how well they responded to the power cuts.
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Mr Wilson said: "It is clear that there have been major problems with companies' telephone call centres and I am particularly concerned that many vulnerable customers have not been reconnected on a priority basis.
"These are all issues which will be explored further and the results of the investigation will be acted on."
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A team of 12 is investigating the power industry and chartered engineer David Hoyle is heading the investigation into the performance of 24seven.
The team is currently planning a detailed questionnaire to present to 24seven on the way they handled the power cut.
He said: "Anything relevant to what we want to know will be asked. It is completely open book.
"24seven has made it clear they will co-operate. There is no doubt about that."
Mr Hoyle has been drafted in from his Huddersfield home to provide an "objective" viewpoint of the episode.
He will be speaking to staff at all levels in 24seven and also plans to examine the way they responded to weather forecasts from the Met Office.
Part of the investigation will focus on the split role of 24seven and TXU Energi – now owned by Powergen.
24seven's role is to ensure supply to customers and TXU Energi is the power provider.
Mr Hoyle said: "This arrangement has been running for a number of years now but we will be investigating all angles."
British Power International was chosen to carry out the investigation after completing similar operations in the past for the Department of Trade and Industry.
Simon Faiers, project manager of the investigation, said: "We are very proud to be chosen. All of the team have a background in the power industry and there are not many around with the specialist knowledge that we have."
The report is due to be completed within three weeks and will be presented to the Department of Trade and Industry in December. After that date the findings are expected to be made public.