Consultation on the future of electricity transmission
02 Sep 2010
Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Ltd (SHETL), a subsidiary of SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy plc), has started a public consultation seeking views on the future of electricity transmission in the north of Scotland.
SHETL owns and maintains the 5,000km high voltage electricity network of overhead lines and underground cables that serves the northern part of Scotland. It connects to the transmission network in central and southern Scotland and the rest of Great Britain and to the lower voltage electricity distribution network in the north of Scotland. Its current Regulatory Asset Value is just over £400m. Electricity networks like SHETL’s provide a physical link between electricity generators and electricity users.
In its Annual Energy Statement in July, the UK Government stated that ‘if the UK is to meet its climate change and renewable energy targets and ensure security of supply, large amounts of renewable and other low carbon generation need to be able to connect in the next decade’.
The consultation launched by SHETL is part of the new process for regulating electricity networks likely to be formally adopted by the regulator, Ofgem, later this year, and implemented through a new ‘price control’ from April 2013.
SHETL is seeking views on five key topics:
- What are the environmental issues it should address?
- What standards and targets should be set to make sure its network is reliable and available for existing and future customers?
- What steps should it take to make sure users and generators of electricity are connected to the network in a timely, transparent and high quality way?
- What should it do to define customer satisfaction metrics and to measure the satisfaction of its customers?
- What should it do to ensure safe network operation, beyond compliance with legal safety requirements?
The views received on these topics will then be used by SHETL to develop a more detailed consultation document, which it will publish in the autumn of this year.
Iain Anderson, SHETL’s Transmission Price Control Manager, said:
“Electricity is central to the energy and climate challenges facing Scotland, the UK and elsewhere, and its future is a key issue for Scotland and the rest of the UK. This is a completely open consultation, in which we are keen to hear from anyone with views on the future of electricity transmission in the northern part of Scotland from 2013 onwards. It provides an important new way for people to influence the future of the energy system on which we all depend.”
Because electricity transmission businesses like SHETL are natural regional monopolies, they are regulated by Ofgem through a ‘price control’. Amongst other things, this determines the amount of revenue they are able to earn from network users and the framework for the capital investment they are able to make in maintaining, developing and upgrading the networks.
Because the price control which is the subject of this consultation is due to run from 2013, it will not have any impact on the construction of the replacement transmission line between Beauly and Denny, for which Scottish Ministers announced consent in January 2010, and which is outside the scope of the consultation.
The full consultation letter issued by SHETL is available at www.sse.com and comments on the five key topics can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for comments is Friday 1 October 2010.