National Grid ESO - lightbulbs hanging from roof
Restoration Services
System Security Services

Restoration (formerly known as Black Start) is the process used 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. We use restoration services 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 restoration services.

The restoration service is procured from power stations that have the capability to start main blocks of generation onsite, without reliance on external supplies and from Distributed Energy Resources (DER) for a bottom up  approach to restoration from distribution up to transmission level.

During a shutdown, 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 contracted 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 restoration services.

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

Service Procurement Stages

Service dispatch

When do providers need to be available to deliver this service?

Providers of the restoration services are expected to achieve high availability levels. When a power station is unavailable to provide the service, it must advise us. Availability payments will then cease until the station re-declares its availability. Settlement periods where the power station is unavailable will be accrued and assessed annually.

How will providers be dispatched?

In the event of a partial or total system shut down, providers of restoration services will be instructed by the control room, with the general guidance of a site specific restoration plan.

How often will providers be dispatched?

Initiating the procedures is considered to be a low likelihood event. However, we may test the delivery of this service at least every three years, as set out in the Grid Code.

Getting Paid

Not all payments will be applicable as some depend on the type, age and status of the generating unit.

Availability payment (£/settlement period) – a payment for being available to provide restoration services.

Exercise price (£/MWh) – an agreed amount paid by us for a test. The amount paid includes the exercise price and the metered output of the unit during the test.

Contribution sums – these payments are available to new or refurbishing plant only. Where the installation or refurbishment of capital assets at a power station would return a valuable restoration service, we may choose to contribute towards the provider’s costs. This may be in the form of profiled (staged) or upfront payments, all supported by valid invoices.

We reserve the right to request further evidence to verify that the works have been completed.


Our key documents can be found in each tab on the left hand side.

Latest News

Distributed ReStart is a world-first initiative. Distributed energy resources (DER) can be used to restore power to the transmission network in the unlikely event of a total or partial shutdown of the national electricity transmission system (NETS).

Distributed Restart


Our archive contains documents from previous years.

Updated Contract Terms

You can get in touch with us using [email protected].