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Mon June 21 2021

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Ofgem publishes £22bn utilities investment plans

16 Jul 12 Energy regulator Ofgem has published proposals for a £22bn upgrade of Britain’s gas and electricity networks.

Around £15bn would be for the upgrade and renewal of the high voltage electricity network in England and Wales and the high pressure gas networks across Britain. These networks are operated by National Grid and the package would fund major projects such as new sub-sea electricity cables linking England/Wales and Scotland.

The building of these critical infrastructure projects could create around 7,000 jobs, mainly in the construction supply chain.

An estimated £7bn would help to ensure that the low pressure gas networks, which deliver gas to homes and businesses, remain safe and reliable. The money would fund the continued maintenance across Britain of the gas distribution network, in particular the gas mains replacement programme. In addition, the proposals would enable the gas distribution companies to connect around 80,000 additional households to the gas network. The proposals will also enable funding for companies to develop carbon monoxide awareness initiatives.

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The plan is part of the Office of the Gas & Electricity Markets' wider £200bn Project Discovery vision to secure supply.

Ofgem chairman Lord Mogg said: “As Ofgem’s Project Discovery set out, Britain faces an unprecedented need to invest to replace ageing infrastructure, meet environmental targets and deliver secure supplies. This needs to be carried out at a time of global financial uncertainty, which makes attracting investment difficult but possible.

“In addition, through Ofgem’s RIIO price controls we are driving improvements in company performance to ensure costs are kept as low as possible for consumers by incentivising efficient investment and penalising poor performance. Our ‘vanilla’ weighted average cost of capital of around 4.5% (6.7-7.0% cost of equity) achieves these criteria.”

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