German Power Traders Warned After Almost Causing Blackout

(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s grid regulator issued a warning to two power trading firms for providing misleading information that almost caused a blackout in June 2019.

The Bundesnetzagentur in a statement published Tuesday said power traders at Energie Vetrieb Deutschland EVD GmbH and Optimax Energy GmbH had forecast the system would receive electricity that wasn’t actually available, breaching their obligations to ensure a balanced grid. The agency said their notification amounted to a warning, adding it was up to the individual grid operators as to whether to cancel the firms’ balancing contracts.

A spokesperson for EVD wasn’t immediately available for comment. A spokesperson for Optimax also wasn’t available for comment.

Germany’s electricity grid was destabilized over three days in June 2019, narrowly avoiding a blackout thanks to cooperation between Germany’s transmission operators and help from neighboring countries, BNETZA said.

Under the German system, balancing groups are used to trade power in order to maintain grid stability. The balancing group should ensure that the amount of electricity withdrawn and fed into the grid is balanced in every 15 minute period.

BNETZA said it has started supervision proceedings against six balancing group managers due to the incident, but didn’t name who these were.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Newspaper first reported on BNETZA’s warning.

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