Electric Car Charging Could Cause Blackouts Says Power Chief

Tue 2nd Oct 2018

A leading energy provider has warned that the increased use of electric cars could lead to issues in the national grid unless essential cable upgrades are undertaken.

Scott Mathieson, senior manager at SP Energy Networks has written a letter to industry watchdog Ofgem expressing his concerns. There is a major worry that a surge in demand for cars being charged would place increased pressure on the current infrastructure leading to a meltdown of the system.

Mathieson has pointed out that current regulations are restricting firms from spending money to upgrade overhead lines and underground cables, and if the work doesn’t take place then some communities could left ‘isolated and vulnerable’.

“If Network o­perators are prevented from undertaking sufficient investment in the network, then as the system is pushed beyond maximum capacity, the risk of local blackouts

and safety concerns could become a reality,” Mathieson’s letter states.

“There is a risk that customers do not respond in sufficient time, number or scale to address local network constraint issues, leading to local blackouts, damage to the network and potentially public safety issues.

“As the penetration of electric vehicles increases, the impact of being off-supply would be felt more acutely by rural ­customers, with Scotland having a ­disproportionate number ­compared to the rest of the UK.

“If those customers are ­off-supply and they rely on their electricity to power transport, then they would be incredibly isolated and vulnerable.

“We want to avoid a situation where these customers have no transport to remove themselves from dangerous situations.”

SP Energy Networks are responsible for the infrastructure for much of Scotland, Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire.