New generation connecting to the distribution network in WPD’s service areas could avoid a charging lottery over the cost of upgrading the network, if the regulator Ofgem agrees to a trial. Instead, costs may be shared out pro-rata between a group of new plants.
In some cases when new plants connect to the network the costs are shared between the new plant and customers. But where a significant upgrade is required the cost is currently born by the first plant that ‘triggers’ the need for reinforcement. That can be costly – and uncertain, as the ‘trigger’ plant may change because of external factors such as delays in gaining planning permission.
WPD has proposed a change in the charging rules that would enable it to share the reinforcement costs between a group of generators. The costs would be shared on the basis of the capacity of the new generators.
New plant would be able to choose whether to accept the regular connection charging regime or join an aggregate charging group.
WPD wants to run the trial for six years in its service areas in the west, southwest and midlands. It says that period will enable it to see whether groups will form to take advantage of aggregate connections.
Ofgem is consulting on the proposal and is seeking responses by 6 January.