Homeowners in parts of England could be forced to pay for zero net improvements

Some companies say their improvements, which include making people’s home supplies and the wider network capable of meeting the increased demand for net-zero technologies, will add nothing to the consumer’s annual bill over the next five years. years.

The rules proposed by Ofgem would see the cost of cables and reinforced systems to power thousands of additional heat pumps and electric car chargers spread over 45 years of bills rather than the 20 years that had been used before.

But Northern Powergrid says spreading the cost keeps bills “artificially low” and risks “our children’s generation” paying for upgrades instead.

This would lower short-term bills, but lead to higher payments overall as interest was added, he said.

Martyn James, from consumer group Resolver, said there needed to be more transparency about the effect on bills of the green energy transition.

“The British mainstream is surprisingly pragmatic no matter where they are left or right.

“The only way to solve these problems is to treat the British population like the adults they are,” he said.

‘Hard hit by Ofgem policy’

Paul Glendinning, Director of Policy and Markets at Northern Powergrid, said: “Today’s children, and their children, will be hit hard by Ofgem’s policy.

“We don’t know what cost-of-living issues our children will face, and we don’t think it’s fair for Ofgem to guarantee them that they’re starting from a worse position than customers today. .”

He added: “Even at current investment levels, this new approach will more than double in real terms the size of the financial investment in distribution networks on which customers must pay interest by around 2060. additional investments needed to achieve net zero further add to this.

“In contrast, customers today benefit from the old approach of paying back each year’s investment relatively quickly, because it means they are paying less today for previous investments. In fact, they pay nothing for the investments we made as recently as 2000, since these have already been fully paid for.

“The previous approach to reimbursing electricity distribution investments therefore helps to alleviate the current cost of living crisis, although this is easily overlooked as it was already factored into the bills.”

Ofgem said: “Our price controls are driving clean energy investment to deliver net zero at the lowest possible cost to consumers, protecting bill payers now and in the future.”

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