Around 25% of your energy bill goes towards energy network companies. These are not the actual suppliers of gas and electricity but the people who maintain and upgrade the pipes and wires that deliver it to us. In Scotland gas is delivered to the 83% of properties that are connected to the mains gas grid by SGN. Electricity, which is delivered to almost every household in Scotland, is in the hands of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) in the north of Scotland and Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) in the south. While you mi ght not have heard of these companies, they are working away every day to make sure that our homes and businesses receive the reliable energy supplies that we’ve all come to expect. But while organisations like Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) might encourage you to switch energy supplier to find a better deal, you have no choice who your energy network company is. They are all regulated monopolies. This means that the way they operate – and importantly what they charge consumers – is controlled by the energy regulator, Ofgem. Last week we published a report “Pylons, Pipes and People” which looks at how energy network companies in Scotland currently support households and how their role might change as we move to an energy system that has more renewables, more electric vehicles and smarter houses. We found that while the network companies are doing more and more to support households when there is a power-cut or gas outage, the Scottish electricity network companies could be doing more to provide support to vulnerable households outside of these “crisis” events. We are therefore calling for these companies to expand the reach and ambition of their consumer programmes, for example those which give support to fuel poor households.
Herald 12th Aug 2018 read more »