National Grid recently confirmed they awarded chief John Pettigrew a £1 million pay rise, days after a blackout affected millions. The raise has been in the pipeline due to the company’s previous ‘strong performance’ with regards value to shareholders.
The huge raise was actually revealed to investors and shareholders in July. However, the public announcement was badly timed, coming just days after UK’s worst blackout for ten years.
Value Delivered to Shareholders
National Grid’s annual financial report was republished recently. It revealed that John Pettigrew was paid £4.56 million for the financial year ending in March. This is up from £3.65 million from the previous year. National Grid’s remuneration committee said John Pettigrew continued to deliver a strong performance in his third year in the role. This means investors and shareholders received adequate returns on their financial input.
Pettigrew’s actually salary is a paltry £944,000, though National Grid tops this up with similarly sized if not much greater bonuses. Recently Pettigrew received a ‘long-term bonus’ of almost £2.25 million, not far off a million over the £1.5 million bonus he received last year. Just in case that wasn’t enough, they also gave him £283,000 to put towards his pension. Other benefits and bonuses paid to Pettigrew added up to an additional £94,000.
The bad timing comes as National Grid prepares to publish an interim report on the August 9th blackout. It left almost a million homes without electricity. There was also lots of travel disruption when hundreds of thousands of people were stranded during rush-hour.
Lightning Blamed for National Grid Blackout
Meanwhile, National Grid has blamed the blackout on a lightning strike which caused two power generators to go offline. Lots of strikes hit the grid on August 9th but one struck a transmission circuit stationed due north of London. The sudden surge sent two electricity generators offline, despite them being over a hundred miles apart. National Grid called it an ‘extremely rare and unexpected event’.
One outage was at a gas-fired power plant in Bedfordshire. The other was an offshore wind farm off the east coast of England. One report into the incident said that National Grid didn’t have enough backup to cover the double outage. There was only 1,000MW in reserve when the outages happened, while over 1,300MW was lost in the outages.
‘Something Fundamental’ Went Wrong, Says Advisor
One of the Government’s adviser on energy policy, Professor Dieter Helm, said of the blackout: “The key point is that the power cut should never have happened in the first place.
“If power cuts can happen when just two power generators drop off, then something fundamental has gone wrong.”
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