Ofgem has hit back at accusations that it is stalling the UK’s electric vehicle rollout, arguing that an article published in The Guardian this week does “not fully reflect” its position.
The article focused on Ofgem’s distribution network operator funding requests, after it announced it had accepted £64 million of additional funding requests for rail electrification, street works and site security projects.
It focused largely on one of the £258 million worth of funding requests that were rejected. ScottishPower wanted to invest £42 million in a project that would allow the company to increase its network capacity in Scotland and the north-west of England. This was in preparation of the increased demand expected as the electric vehicles market grows.
ScottishPower was critical of Ofgem’s refusal with the ‘big six’ energy company’s chief executive Keith Anderson saying, “There is a colossal disconnect between government policy and the regulator’s policy.”
“We have a government willing to invest money in electric vehicles ahead of time, and an industry regulator sitting back and saying, ‘No, we don’t think so.’ But the government has set a 2050 climate target, and a ban on combustion engine vehicles by 2040 which could come forward to 2035. This is going to happen,” he continued.
Ofgem has now claimed that it does prioritise the EV rollout however, highlighting that it’s already invested £3 billion into reinforcing grids to accommodate increased EV use. It says that it can “only allow consumers to foot the bill for these requests for millions of pounds extra funding where it is properly evidenced.”
“We disallowed the recent request from ScottishPower because they simply did not justify the costs of their proposal to us. They didn’t give us basic evidence, for example, about where the investment will take place, how much extra capacity will be provided or how it will be used by future electric vehicle users.”
The letter produced by Ofgem and published in The Guardian, further expands on projects it has funded, such as ENWL’s ‘Smart Street’ project, which can help to expand networks.
The regulator has also said that ScottishPower can make the case for additional funding next year if it so wishes.