The findings come from the operator’s largest customer engagement programme to date, which was commissioned to ensure it continues to deliver the innovation, reliability and value for money consumers want.
Electricity North West is responsible for around 20% of an average household’s electricity bill, and it uses that money to invest in the 57,000km of underground cables and overhead lines bringing power to properties in the region.
As part of the research, residents were also asked what the network operator’s priorities should be over the next five years. These included further support for community energy projects and customers in vulnerable circumstances, as well as reducing power cuts. Further research is now taking place on more detailed plans.
People are becoming more reliant on electricity than ever before, with demand expected to double by 2050 as society transitions from using fossil fuels for heating and transport and begin using electric vehicles and other technologies powered by renewable sources of electricity instead.
To prepare for the increased demand, Electricity North West recently announced that it is investing £25 million over the next three years in eight schemes designed to create vital new capacity on the network, as part of its Leading the North West to Net Zero plan.
Jonny Morgan, external communications manager at Electricity North West, said: “A portion of every household and business’s electricity bill in the region comes to Electricity North West so that we can invest in the network.
“As we plan our investments for the future, that part of the bill could go up or down depending on the choices we make about where, when and what to invest in.
“We need to listen to exactly what people in the region think about a range of issues because they’re the ones who help fund it. So this research guides our business priorities up to 2028. We already have one of the most reliable power networks in the world, but while further investment is needed to enable a net zero future, we have to balance that with the fact that some people struggle to pay their bills as it is.”
Customers are now invited to take part in the network operator’s latest survey, which is the next stage in the research process. Questions are based on the answers provided previously to give the team an even clearer understanding of customers’ priorities: www.pluggingin.co.uk/survey
Electricity North West has already engaged with more than 15,000 people to discuss their electricity priorities over the coming years, which will help the network operator formulate its business plan. This includes virtual focus groups with residents, businesses as well as youth groups, such as Youth Focus North West.
Towards the end of the process, the network operator will share all the results, and its plan of action, with customers to check they’re on board with it, before submitting a final plan to regulator, Ofgem, next year.