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Electricity North West pledges £2bn investment during RIIO-ED2

Electricity North West's chief executive Peter Emery. Image: Electricity North West.

Electricity North West's chief executive Peter Emery. Image: Electricity North West,

Electricity North West (ENW) is planning to invest £1.97 billion during RIIO-ED2, a 44% increase on the current price control period.

This follows a two-year public consultation, with the draft business plan now also to be consulted upon before being submitted to Ofgem. In it, ENW identifies three headline commitments, with these being:

  1. Investing to support the requirements of delivering net zero and following a path to make its own operations net zero by 2038
  2. Reduce the number of power cuts and the average time people are without power by 20%
  3. Deliver a 9/10 level of customer service and provide additional support to electricity users in vulnerable circumstances and fuel poverty

As part of the latter of these, ENW will launch a £250,000 annual fund to remove barriers that prevent take-up of low carbon technologies such as electric vehicles (EVs) and solar panels, with this money targeted at struggling households.

A further £2 million per year will be made available to work with partner organisations to support the 250,000 customers in its region who are in fuel poverty by 2028.

From 2023, ENW will provide a £1 million per year grant for community energy projects such as neighbourhood-owned wind, solar and hydro projects.

The distribution network operator (DNO) will also deliver a targeted programme of enhancements to improve the reliability of the poorest performing parts of its network based on Ofgem’s new definition of a ‘worst-served customer’.

ENW has assessed all the areas which would have qualified under the meaning since 2016 and has designed proposed measures for each, with the programme to benefit 4,159 of the worst-served customers and a further 30,102 customers on the same circuits for a cost of £20 million in RIIO-ED2 it said.

Across the price control period, it will also invest strategically in the network to ensure the capacity is in place to support the expected increase in electricity demand from EVs and the changing needs of businesses and homes.

In February, it outlined eight strategies covering the steps it will take before 2028 to prepare the network for the increased demand from the uptake of EVs, with over 3 million predicted to be use in its region by 2050.

Peter Emery, chief executive of Electricity North West, said that the challenge of delivering environmental ambitions to achieve net zero while also keeping bills low and ensuring no one is left behind "is tough", with ENW looking to facilitate a "greener, fairer, more prosperous and more connected future for our region".

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