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Scottish Power and National Grid customers to see lower bills after £158m Ofgem fine

Victoria Hartley
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Victoria Hartley

Ofgem has slapped two energy contractors with a multi-million pound fine after a two-year delay to the Western Link Project, a subsea link between Scotland and Wales.

Ofgem suggests the Scottish Power and National Grid fine will be passed back to customers through reduced charges, minus the £15m going to the Energy Saving Trust, which administrates cash for a number of charities, trusts, organisations and consumers after licensing breaches.

An Ofgem spokesman was unable to offer an average savings total per customer given ‘so many variables’ including pricing caps and rising energy costs.

Lengthy delays

However, the two-year delay made it difficult at times for renewable energy generators in Scotland to export clean, often green sources like offshore wind electricity to England and Wales. The extended delay restricted renewable generators in Scotland exporting electricity to England and Wales due to occasional insufficient capacity.

As a result, National Grid would have sometimes had to reduce the output from windfarm generators to protect the electricity system leading to higher consumer costs.


What the investigation revealed

Ofgem’s investigation found that the root causes of the delay were problems with manufacturing processes, installing the cables and commissioning tests. It acknowledged that NGET and SPT did not cause or exacerbate the delay.

Cathryn Scott, Ofgem’s director of enforcement and emerging issues, said: “To deliver the UK’s climate change ambitions, more of our electricity will come from renewable generation. This is already happening, with offshore wind and other projects in development. Innovative projects such as the Western Link are vital in moving clean energy from where it’s produced to where it’s needed.

“However, they must be delivered on time and to the standards agreed. Where they are not, as the energy regulator, we will hold the licensees accountable.”