Great Britain’s electricity distribution networks plan to increase investment and expenditure in resilience measures over the next five years by around 20%, subject to approval by regulator Ofgem.
In the business plans submitted for the forthcoming RIIO-ED2 Price Control period, the six distribution network operators plan to increase expenditure from around £12bn in the past five years to £14.5bn over the next five years.
The increased investment will go towards measures such as tree cutting, flood prevention and other energy security measures designed to improve the resilience of Britain’s 800,000km of overhead and underground power lines in the face of more severe weather events in future.
The network operators have also begun to implement the recommendations called for by Ofgem and the UK Government to improve customer service following the devastation caused by Storm Arwen last year.
David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses, said:
“Storm Arwen caused catastrophic damage and disruption to customers and we welcome today’s findings. It's important customers have trust in their network operators and are supported during severe weather events. As well as implementing the recommendations set out by government and the regulator and enhancing customer service, network operators have also identified areas which will need increased investment to provide better energy security and service for customers in the long term. This is particularly important as severe weather events become more frequent. The six electricity distribution network operators have submitted these details in their business plans for the next five years and Ofgem is due to make its initial determination in the coming weeks."
Three people were killed, buildings were destroyed and around one million households were affected by power cuts caused by storm damage in November last year. It was the worst storm the UK has seen in a generation, bringing hurricane-force winds and heavy snow to many parts of the country, cutting off road access and flattening around 16 million trees.
Notes to editor
Ofgem price controls
Ofgem set price controls for the gas and electricity network companies of Great Britain. Price controls balance the relationship between investment in the network, company returns and the amount companies charge for operating their respective networks. Ofgem describe RIIO-2 as “an investment programme to transform the energy networks and the electricity system operator to deliver emissions-free green energy in GB, along with world-class service and reliability” (Source: Network price controls 2021-2028 (RIIO-2) | Ofgem)
About Energy Networks Association
Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the companies which operate the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.
ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.
Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Grid Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.
What are energy network operators?
Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 45,000 people in the UK and Ireland. They are represented by their industry body, Energy Networks Association (that's us).