proposed amendments to electricity regulations with the primary aim
of helping make British electricity supply networks more resilient to
adverse weather conditions.
The Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002
(ESQCR) came into force on 31 January 2003 to improve safety and
supply reliability standards across the country.
Since these new Regulations came into force, however, important
issues have arisen that require amendments:
* The UK storms in October 2002, which resulted in about two million
domestic consumers losing supplies for up to 10 days, highlighted the
need to improve electricity network resilience in adverse weather
conditions. Subsequent investigations have shown that the proximity
of trees and branches to overhead lines is the one overriding factor
that needs to be addressed to improve network resilience. The
proposals will require electricity companies to develop more
proactive policies and procedures to reduce the risk of inadvertent
tree contact with overhead lines and thereby increase network
resilience in adverse weather conditions. Over the period April 1998
to March 2004, there were more than 40,000 recorded instances of tree
related faults on both low and high voltage networks in Great
* Trees coming into contact with overhead power lines were also key
factors in the major blackouts affecting about 50 million consumers
on the east coast of the USA and Canada in August 2003, and a similar
number of consumers in Italy in September 2003.
* The push for increased renewable energy generation has resulted in
offshore generating stations becoming a reality, and this is expected
to expand considerably in the coming years. It is important that
regulations to ensure public safety and address the risks of supply
interruption apply equally offshore as well as onshore.
* The introduction of the ESQCR and the new requirement to harmonise
cable core colours across the EU have resulted in an amendment to
BS7671 (also known as the IEE Wiring Regulations 16th Edition). The
ESQCR need to reflect this.
* The special nature of overhead traction supplies was recognised in
the drafting of the original ESQCR since railway networks were
exempted. However, further clarification is required to ensure that
tramways, trolleybuses and other guided vehicle systems have the same
exemption as for railways.
The consultation will run until 2 September 2005.
1. The new amendments, once introduced, will be made under sections
29, 30 and 60 of the Electricity Act 1989 (as amended by the
Utilities Act 2000 and Energy Act 2004). They will be called the
Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity (Amendment) Regulations
2. The Engineering Inspectorate at the Department of Trade and
Industry enforces the existing Regulations.
3. The draft amended Regulations (URN 05/1264) are available at the
following website: www.dti.gov.uk/energy/consultations. The
Consultation Document (URN 05/1263), Partial Regulatory Impact
Assessment (URN 05/1262), and associated Guidance Document for the
amended Regulations (URN 05/652) are also available at the above
4. The formal consultation on the proposals will be carried out
between 7 June 2005 and 2 September 2005.