NGET and SPT to return £158M to customers after Western Link delays

£143 million will be returned to customers via reduced transmission network charges in their bills, and £15 milion will be paid into Ofgem’s redress fund, after network owners Scottish Power and National Grid accepted responsibility for late delivery of the Western Link.
The Link, a 2250MW HVDC subsea cable connecting Scotland and Wales that is key to making economic use of Scottish wind generation, was due to come into operation in March 2017 at a cost of £1.2 billion. But the link was not finally delivered by NGET and SPT until 22 November 2019.
Ofgem concluded, after an investigation, that delays were caused by problems with land acquisition, manufacturing processes, installation of cables and commissioning tests.
The regulator said NGET and SPT had not exacerbated or caused delays – nor could they have taken action to speed up delivery after the issues arose. But they were responsible, through their licences, for the timely delivery and operation of the link, including being responsible for their supply chain.
The delay to delivery and operation of the link resulted in losses to customers and gains accruing to NGET and SPT through contractor delay payments and deferred spending upon completion of works. That can now be returned to consumers, Ofgen said.
Ofgem added that using transmission charges (via the ‘transmission network use of system’, or TNUoS mechanism) to make most of the payment is the “preferred method for the return of such large redress sums, so that consumers benefit because network charges will be lower than they otherwise would have been.” The adjustments will occur in 2022/23.