New figures from energy regulator Ofgem reveal Britain’s energy networks have never been more reliable and customers have never been more satisfied with the service they receive, with companies last year achieving average scores of 9 out of 10.
Ofgem’s annual report for 2019-20 reveals the companies which operate the gas and electricity networks have also been able to keep costs to customers broadly flat over the entire regulatory period 2013-21.
Key findings also include:
- Since 2015 Britain’s local electricity networks have invested more than £730 million in resilience which has helped improve reliability significantly.
- The number of power cuts has fallen by a fifth, while the average length of interruptions has fallen by 15% to just over 30 minutes.
- Between 2013 and 2020 Britain's gas networks will have invested nearly £15 billion, which has helped them to maintain exceptionally high standards of both safety and reliability which currently averages at 99.998%.
- Gas network operators have connected over 84,000 fuel poor households to their networks.
- Gas and electricity networks cleaner and greener than ever before.
The energy networks are cleaner and greener than ever before. Building on their plans for a net-zero gas grid, 2019/20 saw 19 biomethane plants connected to local gas networks, with over 100 now connected, while 3,400km of gas pipe was upgraded, cutting emissions from leakage and preparing it for green gases like hydrogen.
Over a quarter of all electricity produced is now connected to the local electricity networks. The electricity network operators also invested more than £35 million in innovation which will deliver a variety of operational and environmental benefits.
This improvement in performance is reflected in the customer service scores which average at nine out of ten. This puts them among the highest performing companies in the country for customer service not just in energy, but across the economy.
This performance has been maintained throughout the challenges of the pandemic, which has seen key workers in the energy sector work hard to support the communities across the UK throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sue Ferns, Deputy General Secretary of Prospect, said:
"The excellent level of service provided by networks businesses owes much to the dedication of our energy workforce. They have maintained the smooth operation of critical services throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, largely unnoticed and unsung. The Net Zero challenge further highlights the need for investment in key skills."
Ross Easton, Director of External Affairs at Energy Networks Association, which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses said:
"The latest statistics from Ofgem highlight just how much work is going on within Great Britain’s energy networks to innovate, increase reliability and maintain high customer service standards, while battling the challenges of a global pandemic. The sector employs more than 36,000 people and it’s through the hard work and professionalism of this dedicated workforce that these impressive results are possible.
"In the year of COP 26, the spotlight is firmly on Net Zero. While the networks are more reliable and cleaner than ever before, we know there’s more still to do. Our work continues with an absolute focus on providing high levels of customer service and a safe, reliable and low-cost Net Zero energy system that people across the country need."
Notes to editors
- RIIO-1 started in 2013 for gas network operators and in 2015 for electricity distribution network operators (DNOs)
- The customer satisfaction scores across all DNOs have increased in 2019/20. The industry average score is now 9 out of 10.
- The average customer survey score for gas distribution networks (GDNs) has consistently improved over RIIO-GD1 and was 8.92 out of 10 in 2019/20.
- Over RIIO-ED1 to date, customer interruptions have fallen by 19% while the average duration of interruptions has reduced by 15%. The average length of a power cut is 33 minutes in 2019/20 compared to 39 minutes in 2015.
- In 2019/2020, DNOs spent £151 million on resilience, bringing the total spent to date over RIIO-ED1 to £733 million.
- The gas fuel poor network extension scheme enables customers who are struggling with fuel poverty to switch onto natural gas by helping towards the cost of connecting to the gas network.
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).
Energy supplier or network operator? Energy network operators are entirely separate to your energy supplier, which is the company that bills you for using electricity and gas. Energy suppliers and generators are represented by Energy UK.