National Grid boss warns Britain risks power blackouts due to a decaying electricity network as he asks Ofgem for right to raise customers’ bills
- Sheffield is at heightened risk of blackouts, as it is served by just two power lines
- Should one fail, the city could only rely on the other to provide all of its power
- National Grid boss John Pettigrew warned older power lines will start to ‘decay’
The boss of National Grid has warned Britain will be at risk of power blackouts due to a decaying electricity network after he asked Ofgem for the right to raise customers’ bills.
CEO John Pettigrew fears power lines in parts of the country will ‘decay,’ after energy regulator Ofgem denied the National Grid’s suggestion to charge consumers for replacing them.
According to The Times, the utility group, along with SSE and Scottish power, has reached a stalemate with Ofgem over a settlement that would have returns from next year and cancel billions of pounds worth of investments.
National Grid CEO John Pettigrew fears power lines in parts of the country will ‘decay,’ without proper funding
Ofgem claims the settlments will provide better value for money for customers.
But cancelled projects are already putting puts of the UK at greater risk of blackouts, Mr Pettigrew warned.
He claims the National Grid had £40million plans to replace one of the Sheffield’s only two power lines.
Should one of those power lines fail, the only source of electricity for the entire city would be the other line.
Ofgem reportedly told The Times that the National Grid did not demonstrate the need for a replacement.
Speaking on the wider issue, Mr Pettigrew told The Times: ‘It is deeply concerning for us because ultimately you’re increasing the risk on the network.
‘The risk of a loss of supply increases as a result of not spending as much on asset health, because the assets are deteriorating as they age.’
Some cities, such as Sheffield, could be at greater risk of blackouts, as they rely on fewer power lines for their supply, Mr Pettigrew warned
Mr Pettigrew also warned that the need to cut funds will likely result in job losses at the National Grid and its supply chain.
He claimed plans to spend £10billion on UK networks have been halved by current proposals.
Ofgem, however, say the draft plan could create jobs.
A spokeswoman for the regulator told The Times: ‘Wherever network companies have demonstrated they need vital funding, we have given them the go ahead.’
She added it would not allow for billions of pounds to spent on proposals that were described as poorly evidenced.