30 October 2002 – UK Energy Minister Brian Wilson has ordered an investigation into the performance of energy suppliers after hundreds of thousands of consumers were left without power for days as a result of recent storms.

Customers in South West England, the South and West Wales were among the worst affected, with up to a million reported to have, at least temporarily, loss of power supply. However, up to 100 000 customers are still thought to be without electricity.

Wilson said: “Earlier this year I commissioned a study into the resilience of the electricity infrastructure, and its ability to cope in extreme conditions. I wanted to know if the necessary investment has been made since privatisation. This has been the first opportunity for us to test the conclusions of that study, which were generally positive, against the actual response in testing conditions. There will need to be some analysis of how well they have met the challenge. I have therefore asked for an immediate review of how companies have performed, and for recommendations to help them ensure that future supplies to consumers are not affected to the same extent.”

Wilson is thought to be unhappy at the level of complaints from customers unable to contact their electricity supplier or obtain any indication of when supplies would be resumed.