Domestic bills in line for £200m helping hand

An early repayment of money saved by importing cheaper, greener energy from mainland Europe looks set to help to reduce consumer energy costs over the next two years.

National Grid has offered to pay £200m of interconnector revenues ahead of schedule, rather than at the end of the standard five-year term, to play its part in reducing household energy bills.

Interconnectors – subsea electricity cables connecting the UK and mainland Europe – allow cheaper, cleaner energy to be imported from European neighbours, supporting security of supply and reducing carbon emissions.

It's estimated that National Grid’s interconnector portfolio will help the UK avoid around 100 million tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030.

Ofgem has approved National Grid’s request to make the early payments to consumers of £200 million over the next two years as part of the regulatory regime for electricity interconnectors.

New charging regime

Ofgem’s cap and floor regime sets a yearly maximum (cap) and minimum (floor) level for the revenues the interconnector licensees can earn over a 25-year spell. Usually, revenues generated by the interconnector are compared against the cap and floor levels over five-year periods.

The payment approval means National Grid can make payments of above cap revenues significantly earlier than planned, which will contribute to reducing consumer energy costs over the next two years.

National Grid is now working with Ofgem to explore how to ensure the early payments will have the most impact for consumers.

National Grid is investing more than £2 billion in interconnector capacity, which helps increase energy security and efficiency by smoothing peaks in supply and demand. By 2024, it will have almost eight gigawatts of capacity in operation, which will provide enough clean electricity to power around eight million homes.

“While National Grid’s impact on customer bills is relatively small, we strive every day to keep our costs as low as possible. Given how challenging the current rise in overall energy costs is for people across the country, we want to play our part in helping reduce consumer bills.

John Pettigrew, National Grid CEO

“That’s why we have requested this change to our standard regulatory process and are working with Ofgem to accelerate payments over the next two years to make a difference now,” adds Mr Pettigrew.

Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem CEO, adds: “We’re now working at pace to ensure this money is returned to the consumer in the fastest and most impactful way.”

Could you benefit from a community grant?

A new pitchside fence to protect a football club’s stars of the future is set to be installed thanks to a financial windfall.

The Welsh non-league side is going ahead with the safety measure thanks to a £20,000 grant from National Grid’s Community Grant Programme.

The 250-metre perimeter fence will keep players and supporters safe at Penrhyndeudraeth FC’s ground in the north Wales county of Gwynedd.

Officials at the club, which plays in the North Wales Coast West Football League Premier Division, had long been concerned that a ditch near the playing area was a safety hazard.

They were worried the trench, which manages water run-off during high rainfall, was a risk to some of their junior players during the winter.

So with National Grid about to about to begin work on the Snowdonia Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project, they approached the business’s Community Grant Programme for help.

Club committee member Barry Evans (left) and National Grid's Snowdonia VIP senior project manager Steve Ellison

Club committee member Barry Evans (left) and National Grid's Snowdonia VIP senior project manager Steve Ellison

The scheme is aimed at supporting community organisations and charities in areas where work is impacting local people through operations and site activities.

The request was granted as work gets under way to reduce the visual impact of overhead lines across the Dwyryd Estuary from Penrhyndeudraeth to Cilfor, by rerouting them below ground.

Steve Ellison, National Grid senior project manager for Snowdonia VIP, says: “The Community Grant Programme exists to support organisations and causes that make a real difference to the communities we work in."

“This club is a cornerstone of the local area which brings more than 100 players and people together to exercise and enjoy themselves. I look forward to seeing its players and fans benefit from the funding.”

Steve Ellison, National Grid senior project manager for Snowdonia VIP

Barry Evans, the club’s committee member, adds: “The safety of all who visit the ground is paramount. This grant from National Grid’s Community Programme means we can look after our players across all age groups while continuing to offer playing opportunities for the local community, increase growth in participation and develop knowledge and skills.”

Find more information about National Grid’s Community Grant Programme, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, here.

Drivers will never be far from a charger

Policy makers at National Grid are powering ahead with car user groups and the freight industry to create a joined-up electric vehicle charging network.

A new report from Head of Future Markets, Graeme Cooper, insists the switch to fully decarbonised road transport will only happen if the support network is created soon.

He remains convinced that planning future charging infrastructure around existing connections to the transmission system would mean huge savings for the taxpayer.

“Our analysis shows the importance of digging once and in the right location in terms of cost savings and reductions in the amount of infrastructure required,” he says.

“We look forward to working with government and the wider industry to continue planning the future charging network and begin delivering the interlinked energy and transport system of the future.”

Graeme Cooper, Head of Future Markets at National Grid

National Grid-led analysis, backed by Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) manufacturers and the freight industry, suggests an en-route charging and hydrogen refuelling network for HGVs can be delivered at pace, economically and efficiently.

And by expanding to cover all road transport, the Government’s £950m Rapid Charging Fund (RCF) could deliver enough capacity for HGV charging and hydrogen refuelling at up to 78% of England’s motorway service areas.

Graeme, who has been campaigning for a charging network linked to National Grid’s assets for three years, says a small marginal cost increase would bring enough grid capacity to cover 100% of HGV charging and hydrogen refuelling on the go.

Savings would come from the reduction in fuel costs passed on to families by hauliers and the potential to realise cost savings by coordinating with the Zero Emission Road Freight Trial (ZERFT).

A new report from National Grid outlines a proposal for a fast-charging network covering more than 110 motorway service areas over the next five years.

It would mean motorists being no further than 30 miles from an ultra-rapid charging station across both motorways and A-roads.

The plan targets six high-power, open-access charge points at each motorway service area by 2023 and 6,000 in total by 2035. All would benefit from the natural synergies between National Grid’s existing transmission system and the country’s transport network.

Chris Ashley, Environment and Vehicles Policy at The Road Haulage Association, adds: “We strongly support the aim of decarbonising the HGV sector and welcome National Grid’s commitment to expand Project Rapid. It marks an important step in the investment needed to support a viable transition towards zero tailpipe emission commercial vehicles.”

Read more about National Grid’s role in the decarbonisation of transport here

Don’t bin that letter

That letter from National Grid that you put aside to open later could contain important information which might save you time, money and bring you peace of mind.

If you haven’t had it yet, then keep an eye out and make sure you stay in touch with the Access to Land Team working hard to ensure engineers cause as little disruption to you as possible.

The Foot Patrol letter explains to you and other grantors the ongoing 12-month rolling maintenance schedule we are legally obliged to carry out to keep our operating licence.

And it’s as much about you letting us know when is a good time to visit as it is about us informing you when we’d like to, says Liz Atkinson, Access to Land Team Manager.

“We’re increasingly looking to develop ways of staying in touch with our grantors, because they are the people who make the safe and reliable transmission of electricity possible every day,” she says.

“It’s important that grantors know that this annual letter is not the only time they can get in touch to update information. They can call us on the number below or click on the link. It takes seconds.”

Helen McCormack, Grantor Relations Lead in Electricity Transmission Property

“This digital edition of Gridline and the links you’ll find in it are just one way of contacting us to update your information or inform us about changes, but we’re also looking at text messaging and other ideas.”

Benefits of our foot patrol teams

The foot patrols have been running since overhead lines came into existence and are essential to ensure the integrity of the system, but Liz’s team knows they can be a nuisance for busy grantors.

She adds: “Some will have specific hazards on their land, biodiversity issues, excavations, electric fences or livestock requirements that mean our engineers’ visit might not be the best timing. So if grantors let us know, we can work together.”

The visits require walking access to the overhead line, the pylons and the wires beneath them. On some occasions, it may be necessary to climb the tower to carry out minor maintenance works or to carry out an assessment for any proposed major works on the line.

Safety is paramount for engineers, you, your family and workforce, so pre-planning the visit is critical. Because visiting your land when there’s game shooting going on isn’t a great idea.

Helen McCormack, Grantor Relations Lead in Electricity Transmission Property, says: “Equally our engineers might need to know about specific bio security measures they need to take, so it’s good to talk.

Contact us via email [email protected] or telephone 0800 389 5113 (Select option 3) with any updated information.

Alternatively fill in the form here