Ofgem threatens electricity distribution networks with £13.9m in fines over poor customer service

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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There are 14 electricity distribution networks owned by six groups in the UK (Source: Getty)

Ofgem has warned Britain's electricity distribution network operators (DNOs) that their revenues could be cut by up to £13.9m if they fail to improve customer service.

The energy watchdog set operators an incentive to better engage with larger customers requiring new connections as part of their 2015-2023 price controls, and following a review in July, Ofgem said DNOs may have fallen short of expectations.

Managing connection requests is becoming increasingly important as the energy network rapidly transforms to a smarter and more flexible system.

Each of six DNO groups - Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution, SP Energy Networks, Electricity North West, Northern Powergrid, UK Power Networks and Western Power Distribution - face a revenue reduction due to failings involving poor communication with customers over connection requests.

Read more: Ofgem sets out tougher price controls from 2021

Some customers said they struggled to get progress updates on their connection requests or found that information they were provided by a DNO was not detailed enough. DNOs also failed to explain the costs of reinforcing networks when making quotations for connections work.

Ofgem is currently consulting on its view, giving stakeholders and DNOs an opportunity to provide further evidence. A final decision will be made by the end of November.

New businesses, generators and housing developers are among the types of firms that depend on an efficient connections service.

Read more: Energy regulator Ofgem reduces prepayment cap to help 3m customers

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