We are a separate company

On 1 April the Electricity System Operator became a legally separate company within the National Grid Group. Find out more about what this change means.

Black Start

Black Start is the procedure we use to restore power in the event of a total or partial shutdown of the national electricity transmission system.

Service Description

A total or partial shutdown of the national electricity transmission system (NETS) is an unlikely event. However, if it happens, we are obliged to make sure there are contingency arrangements in place to ensure electricity supplies can be restored in a timely and orderly way. Black start is a procedure to recover from such a shutdown.

It is possible to provide other balancing services, as long as doing so does not interfere with your ability to deliver black start.

The black start service is procured from power stations that have the capability to start main blocks of generation onsite, without reliance on external supplies.

During a black start event, the service requires the provider to start up its main generator(s), carry out initial energisation of sections of the national electricity transmission system and distribution network, and support sufficient demand to create and control a stable ‘power island’.

The black start generator may be required to provide start up supplies to other power stations as the system restoration progresses, and will eventually be required to synchronise to other power islands.

Not all power stations have, or are required to have, the capability to provide black start.

This capability is typically considered when the plant is being built, although we may procure black start service where this capability can be retrofitted to a generator if this is an economic alternative.

The Black Start Allowed Revenue Report for 2017/18 can be found under the Market Information tab.


Black Start Competitive Procurement Event

ESO is trialling a competitive procurement event for Black Start Services, delivering on what we said in our Black Start Strategy and Procurement Methodology, and Restoration Roadmap.

Our request for Expressions of Interest has now closed, the submissions have been assessed, and parties eligible to proceed to the next stage have been informed and will receive their ITT on 1 May.

A summary of the EOI submissions is available below. 

Summary of EOI submissions (updated 1 May)

Documents relating to request for EOI.

Request for Expressions of Interest (Zipped Folder)
(updated to include finalised contract terms - 15 February 2019)

Query Log V5 (uploaded 25 March 2019)
Template - Parent Company Guarantee

Please find template/draft versions of the CSA and MASA frameworks below for reference, which we reserve the right to amend. Please note the clause 4 terms should prevail (updated 28 March 2019)
Template - CSA
Template MASA

Documents relating to request for feedback.

Added 7 December 2018:
Request for Feedback
Appendix 1 – Technical Requirements and Assessment Criteria
Appendix 2 – Feasibility Study Process
Appendix 3 – Feasibility Study Agreement
Appendix 4 – BS Service Contract Terms
Appendix 5 – Feedback Template
Black Start Competitive Procurement Event Webinar Presentation (updated 21 January 2019)
Request for Feedback - Summary (uploaded 22 January 2019)