This week, we achieved a major milestone as we published our draft business plan for the 2023 – 2028 regulatory period which sets out how we will take action to support an inclusive and greener energy future.
At Northern Powergrid, we are proud to provide the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire with an electricity network that powers everyday life for more than eight million people across 3.9 million homes and businesses. Efficiently delivering a top-class service where the lights stay on, the network stays healthy and our customers enjoy outstanding, ever-improving levels of personal service, has always been a rewarding challenge and a considerable responsibility. Those challenges and responsibilities have become even more significant given the importance of energy to the global, national and regional challenge of decarbonisation.
After considering these challenges with stakeholders, our draft plan includes proposals to invest £3.2 billion to support the region’s drive to create a net zero future, improve services and create 1,000 new job opportunities in the region.
Our draft plan is a product of extensive engagement - it has been shaped following some 300 events, 55 panels and 52,000 interactions with our stakeholders, from school-age pupils and customers to local authority partners and industry veterans.
We believe the future presents an opportunity to power our region with sustainable, long-term investments that unleash the potential of innovation, digitalisation, our people and collaboration to:
- lead the drive towards decarbonisation;
- operate a highly reliable and resilient network;
- delight our customers with outstanding service;
- provide remarkable value for money;
- ensure world-class levels of safety and security; and
- be a force for good throughout our region and beyond.
The plan we’ve put together, in collaboration with our stakeholders, means changing the way we run our business. We must take a leading role in enabling our region to play its part in meeting the UK’s target of reducing carbon emissions by almost 80 per cent by 2035. Our network will be instrumental in facilitating this change, as it sits as the heart of a decentralised, low carbon energy system, and we will be working across that whole system to find innovative ways to deliver on that target.
That will be enabled by a 36 per cent increase in investment, to over £600m per year, centred on enabling customers to participate in finding flexible solutions that make a more efficient transition to the lower carbon world. Our focus on keeping bills fair for our customers means that the impact on domestic customers’ energy bills is less than 10p per week, despite the significant increase in investment.
This means from 2023 onwards, domestic customers’ bills on average will increase by about 5% to around £94.40 a year, representing outstanding value for the commitments and investments we are proposing to deliver for the regions and communities we serves.
We are also going to make a whole host of other improvements for our customers across every area of our business. These include higher levels of reliability and resilience, more targeted support for those members of our community who need it the most, and even better levels of customer satisfaction than the 9/10 rating we already deliver.
Listening to our stakeholders, it has been clear to us that all of these priorities matter to them, but decarbonisation is the biggest and most important challenge. Although we know what the end result must be, and the broad changes that will have to be made to achieve it, the specific pathway to net zero is inevitably uncertain.
We believe that our task is to embrace that uncertainty and chart an optimised course through it. We will do that by building on a track record of being among the industry leaders on efficiency, ensuring that we develop an increasingly flexible and innovative approach to running and investing in our network that opens up all the credible pathways to decarbonisation as affordably as possible.
We will submit our final business plan for 2023 – 2028 to Ofgem in December 2021, as part the price control review process that will culminate in late 2022. Ahead of that, we will continue to ensure people from across our region have the opportunity to have their say and let us know if they agree with and accept our final proposals to improve the electricity distribution network that powers their life.
We welcome and will be actively encouraging feedback from our customers and other key stakeholders over the coming months as we develop our final plan for submission.
By Phil Jones, Chief Executive, Northern Powergrid
Visit ed2plan.northernpowergrid.com to share your feedback on our proposals.