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Blackout risk blamed on outdated infrastructure


MOST MAJOR industrial companies blame the power sector for increasing the risk of blackouts because of its failure to upgrade transmission infrastructure, a leading management consultant said this week.

As a result 91% of European companies expect power cuts to occur as a matter of course, while businesses across the world are now more concerned than ever about security of electricity supplies.

A report published this week by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) adds that 'global electricity sector investment needs are estimated at US$10,000bn (£5,600bn), three times higher than investment in the electricity sector during the past 30 years.'

Fears about power supplies have increased since the huge blackouts that engulfed the eastern Unites States last summer.

'Across the world we see aging infrastructure, coupled with increasing demands on generation and transmission capacity, ' said PWC global utilities leader Manfried Wiegand.

Publication of the report follows remarks by ICE energy board chairman David Anderson. He has warned that Britain's power sector might have to be renationalised in an attempt to ensure aging transmission infrastructure is upgraded (News last week).

The report also highlights the fact that some companies are switching investment away from their home markets because of fears about generating capacity.

It adds that in the US 55% of companies want the federal government to provide state and local authorities with financial incentives to encourage investment in power generation capacity.

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