The energy regulator is poised to overhaul its decades-old charging regime for Britain’s power grid in a bid to tackle a growing dilemma caused by the boom in off-grid electricity. The issue of how to pay for Britain’s high-voltage cables and wires has been brewing for years as more homes and companies avoid paying grid maintenance costs by using power they have generated themselves, such as rooftop solar power or diesel generation. The trend has raised serious concerns that energy users who cannot avoid paying these charges will be forced to pick up the slack of ever growing costs, leading to cripplingly high energy bills. This could be devastating for the millions of small businesses in the UK that cannot afford to invest in their own power projects. But it would also hit high energy users such as factories and steel plants, which employ hundreds of thousands of people and need access to the grid to operate. Proponents of off-grid power have already warned that the move could severely damage the investment case for off-grid generation, which plays a huge role in helping the UK secure its energy supplies at low cost. The amount of so-called ‘embedded’ power has surged to around 10GW in recent years, almost triple that of the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, which will not come online for another decade. Tim Rotheray, the head of the Association for Decentralised Energy, said Ofgem needed to “fully, carefully and methodically” consider the costs and benefits that business energy users provide to all consumers over the long term by reducing their use of the electricity networks. “Otherwise Ofgem will be asking business users to pay over the odds for networks they barely use, and industrial sites will see large, unfair increases in their electricity bills in contradiction with the aims of the Government’s energy cost review,” he warned.
Telegraph 6th Nov 2017 read more »
A million households that have installed solar panels face an increase in their energy bills under Ofgem plans to overhaul the way Britain’s electricity networks are funded. Electric vehicle owners who charge their cars at peak times also face paying bigger levies towards the upkeep of power networks than those who charge overnight, the regulator has proposed. Ofgem is concerned that the existing network funding model “may be unfair and is only going to get more unfair” as technology transforms the way that consumers use power. It has begun consulting on a new system that it wants in place by 2020-21. At present, households pay an average of about £120 a year towards the upkeep of electricity networks. This is levied as part of the unit rate that electricity suppliers charge for power supplied via the mains grid, meaning that the more power a household buys, the more it contributes to the grid costs.
Times 6th Nov 2017 read more »
Solar Power Portal 6th Nov 2017 read more »