Electricity North West has published the business plan it says will help it lead the North West on its path towards Net Zero.
The company, which is responsible for maintaining the region’s electricity network, will invest £1.8bn between 2023 and 2028, creating vital new capacity as the region transitions to using clean, green electricity for more of its needs.
Chief executive Peter Emery said: “I want to be very clear. Everything that we deliver in this plan is inextricably linked to the challenge of reaching Net Zero.
“The climate emergency is the greatest challenge of our age and networks are uniquely positioned to enable the transition as we move away from fossil fuels to low carbon electricity to power our homes, businesses, transport and heating.”
All regional network operators are required to submit a business plan for the period between 2023 and 2028 to national regulator, Ofgem, by today (December 1, 2021).
By 2028, the North West is expected to be driving more than 630,000 electric cars while businesses and homes will have made significant steps towards using electricity for heat.
That is just the start. The region’s political leaders are aiming to become Net Zero just 10 years later, in 2038, sending demand for electricity soaring as even more homes and businesses move away from fossil fuels and towards using – and in many cases, producing – renewable power such as wind and solar.
Electricity North West’s business plan therefore needs to show how it will ensure the network will be ready for this surge in demand as it is needed, while also playing its part in keeping energy bills low for customers.
The company will deliver the plan at the lowest cost to customers, reducing its part of energy bills by an average of at least 5.5% a year. Electricity North West also says that new activities in its plan will deliver net social benefits of more than £1.1bn to customers in the North West.
The business has spent more than two years listening to around 18,000 people as part of its biggest consultation programme ever before drafting the plan it has submitted to Ofgem today.
It plans to roll out cutting-edge innovations such as its Smart Street and CLASS programmes, which use industry-leading technology to reduce demand for power at key times – saving customers money and reducing carbon while supporting the network.
The company is also committed to providing additional support to customers living in vulnerable circumstances to ensure nobody is left behind by the transition.
Peter Emery added: “We know the change to Net Zero will take leadership. We are not a passenger on this journey, we are a driving force. Our customers are behind our ambitious plan and I’m excited about delivering it.
“We are stepping forward as energy experts with a critical role to play, helping all those living and working in the North West on the journey.”
Investment in the 57,000km of underground and overhead cables it takes to power the north west is paid for out of the energy bills of the region’s 2.4 million homes and businesses.
Under the plans submitted today, Electricity North West will use efficiencies to increase investment in those cables by 24% compared with its previous planning period of 2015 to 2023, while reducing its share of customers’ bills.
For more information see www.enwl.co.uk/businessplan.