The fingers of blame for a blackout in November 2006 that affected millions of homes across Europe have been pointed at E.ON, with a final report on the incident stating that E.ON Netz was at the origin of the fault that caused the power failure.
<p>The final report on the incident, released by the Union for the Coordination of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE), found that three main reasons appear as the causes of this incident. <br /><br />Firstly, E.ON Netz, the electricity transmission system operator that was at the origin of the fault, did not have the security procedures in place and did not even have the full technical tools to verify that the system operated within the security limits, the UCTE report states. <br /><br />Secondly, other European transmission system operators did not receive information on the actions taken by the German transmission operator. <br /><br />Thirdly, the report found, the lack of sufficient investment both at the level of the reliability and of the operation of the grid are also to be blamed. Other issues to be tackled are the behavior of distribution networks and, in case of disturbances, the disconnection and reconnection of loads and generators.<br /><br />The fault originated from northern Germany, from the control area of Eon Netz. A high voltage line had to be switched off to let a ship pass underneath. This led to overloading of lines and finally to splitting of the UCTE network into three zones: West, East and South-East. The western zone lacked power and the eastern zone had too much power. To cope with this lack of power in the western zone, automatic devices had to switch customers off in the countries affected. <br /><br />The most affected area was France, where five million customers were cut off. In Germany, millions of customers were also affected, while in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain some hundreds of thousands of customers were without electricity.<br /><br />The report findings demonstrate that common action at European level to ensure the security of electricity supply is urgent, EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs said. Europe should draw lessons from this blackout that left millions of Europeans in various member states without electricity and develop stronger network security standards, he commented.</p>