Wholesale energy prices soar following fire at National Grid site

160921-national grid fire sellindge
Credit: ITV News Meridian

Energy prices have soared after a fire at a National Grid site in Sellindge near Ashford caused a power link between the UK and France to be shut off.

The blaze on Wednesday morning (15 September) means the cable will be offline until the 25 September.

It also means only half of its two gigawatt capacity available until March 2022.

Following the incident, British electricity prices peaked at four times higher than the daily average in August.

Prices of electricity on the day-ahead market peaked at £2,500.01 per MWh for delivery between 7pm and 8pm on the N2EX exchange, with an average daily price of £424.61.

This compares with an average in August of £106.83, and an average across 2020 of £35.26.

National Grid site in Sellindge near Ashford Credit: ITV News Meridian

A National Grid spokesman said it expects to "continue supplying electricity safely and securely" despite the incident.

It added: "Our investigation is ongoing and we will update the market with any changes as necessary."

The link can carry up to 2GW of power, and had been importing electricity from France in recent days, after UK prices hit a record high of £540 per MWh on the wholesale energy market.

Rising energy prices has been a key concern for economists in contributing to inflation hitting a nine-year high in August.