A Dickens of a tangle!

Published on 13th December, 2019

“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

On a dark cold night just before Christmas, Terry Watt, Systems Director of the National Grid, was lying in bed awake when the ghost of his long dead former deputy Sherlock Ohms came to him in a dream. He said, “Terry, my old boss, you had a chance when you were younger to be the greatest Systems Director ever but you blew it by not listening to your colleagues when they were telling you what to do and by being too mean to spend any money to prepare for all the profound changes which are coming. Over the next three nights, you will be visited by three spirits.” Terry then fell fast asleep.

Before too long the Ghost of the Old CEGB arrived and Terry woke up. The CEGB Ghost took Terry to a planning meeting where all his old colleagues were sat round a table talking about how to prevent privatisation of the industry. “That Thatcher woman is going to sell the industry to the Americans and that will be the end of our quiet life and gold-plated pensions”, they shrieked. “ Get real”, sneered Terry, “this industry needs the harsh, cold winds of market forces to survive and you’re only worried about hanging on to your cushy jobs”. It was then that Terry realised that to get to the top, he was going to lose his friends along the way. Full of remorse, he went back to bed.

The next night, Terry was visited by the Ghost of Current Electricity System Operations who showed what was happening deep in the bowels of Faraday House. What he saw was the stuff of nightmares. There was a major row going on in one meeting room where a group of executives were trying to find out the cause of the national power failure in August – four months on and still no one to blame! In another meeting, a group of forward planners were frantically trying to find out exactly how many megawatts of unreliable wind and solar generation had been added to the system last week. “Nobody knows where this will end” they cried, “how on earth are we supposed to maintain system stability? What we need is more inertia not less!” Elsewhere, the Electric Vehicle Steering Group was engaged in a futile effort to understand the iterative feedback loop between EV demand and supply. Terry was deeply shaken by what he saw before going to sleep.

The next night, the Ghost of Operations Yet to Come took him by the hand and showed Terry the awful consequences of his flawed vision and penny-pinching ways. Overcome by failure to get to grips with the boom in embedded generation, continuing failure to achieve any meaningful demand side response and the ever diminishing prospects of a breakthrough in nuclear fission, the incoming government led by Jeremiah Carbon took the Grid back into public ownership and Terry left his post ignominiously, friendless and bereft of status.

Terry begged the Ghost to change his fate, promising to mend his ways and do whatever was necessary to turn the organisation round.

Finding himself back in bed, safely tucked up, Terry was overcome with joy. When he turned up for work the next day, he began giving instructions to implement wider access to the Balancing Mechanism for Virtual Lead Parties immediately, to invest in a comprehensive programme of fast charging centres for EVs without delay and intensify research efforts to achieve a breakthrough in nuclear fission within one week.

In addition, Terry gave instructions for a free Christmas hamper to be given to every member of staff (1). The incoming Government was so impressed, Terry was offered a knighthood and lifetime honorary membership of the Worshipful Company of Fuellers.

EnDCo offers gift-wrapped direct and transparent access to the wholesale market and is well placed to help your Christmas dreams come true.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

For further information, please email me at: les.abbie@endco.co.uk

Les Abbie, CEO, EnDCo

(1) Note that hamper costs were recovered via a 20% uplift to transmission use of system charges.