Details have been released of the largest ever investment in the North West’s power network – more than £2 billion over the next five years – to support its bid to become a greener place to live and work.
The investment by Electricity North West covers new investment in the operation, maintenance and upgrading of the region’s electricity network as people move away from fossil fuels to clean, green electricity to power their cars and heating. The operator will also reduce customers’ time without power by 20%.
As well as investing in the network, significant sums will go towards investing in customer service and supporting those in vulnerable circumstances who need it the most. Support includes helping people in power cuts, helping those in fuel poverty and ensuring that no one gets left behind in the green transition.
From today (April 3) the network operator will begin investing to increase the capacity of the network, made up of 57,000 km of underground cables and overhead lines, and many thousands of electricity substations.
The plan, which has been approved by industry regulator Ofgem, will see Electricity North West invest in world-leading innovation and technology and enable it to continue to be the most digital network operator in Europe.
It comes as the company expects the demand for power to increase by a third by 2030, thanks in part to an estimated 1.4 million electric vehicles taking to the roads while more than a million heat pumps are expected to be installed by 2040.
The company says the investment will also enable the continued development of its award-winning apprentice scheme and create hundreds of jobs directly and as part of its supply chain.
Ian Smyth, chief executive officer at Electricity North West, said: “This is a really exciting time for us and for the region. It’s the people who live, learn and work in the North West who are our top priority. As well as this huge network investment we’re also committed to delivering some of the top rated customer service scores in the country.
“We’ll also deliver all this investment while keeping our part of bills low, which we know is absolutely essential given the current cost of living crisis. When you pay your electricity bill to your chosen supplier, around £100 a year – that’s less than 30p a day – comes to Electricity North West to enable this investment. We spoke to more than 18,000 customers and stakeholders to develop this plan and we know that it will deliver fantastic value for the region.
“We’ll continue to develop and deliver our cutting-edge engineering innovations, CLASS, SmartStreet and LineSight that will keep the network reliable, efficient and safe.
“As the network operator, it’s our job to make sure everyone living and working in the North West can continue to depend on the network, just as they do now. After more than three years of planning and preparing, we’re excited to get the shovels in the ground and put the plans into action.
Image: Ian Smyth, chief executive officer at Electricity North West