Undergrounding of networks in AONB
We engaged in a discussion with Ofgem on behalf of our stakeholders on the treatment of costs for undergrounding of rural networks in Areas of Natural Beauty (AONB).
We work closely with representatives from our AONB to minimise the visual impact of overhead lines in some of the country’s most beautiful rural landscapes.
During one of our regular meetings, an issue was raised about the treatment of connections and asset replacement costs. The comment was made that DNOs are provided with allowances to underground assets in National Parks, thereby reducing the visual impact of overhead lines. It was noted however this was not the case with new connections.
In line with the commitment we made in our ICE plan, we prepared a case for Ofgem outlining the views of relevant stakeholders on the use of undergrounding allowances to improve the visual impact of new connections works. We then entered into discussions with Ofgem on behalf of our stakeholders.
Ofgem engaged in discussions with us and, after we had explained what the stakeholders were looking for and why, Ofgem confirmed that we had made our case very well and that the request was a fair one for them to consider.
Following its consideration of the case, Ofgem confirmed that it was not possible under the current licence conditions for undergrounding allowances to be used for new connections
activities. We cannot therefore take this action any further.
Ofgem has suggested ways in which the funding can be used to extend the amount of existing overhead network that can be undergrounded and we are now discussing these possibilities with National Park and AONB stakeholders.View timeline