National Grid's UK dominance under threat

NATIONAL GRID&rsquo;s monopoly on electricity in England and Wales is set to be challenged by 12 companies, the sector&rsquo;s regulator Ofgem said yesterday.<br /><br />Equitix, a PFI specialist, and Balfour Beatty, which was yesterday fined for price-rigging in its construction bids, are among those challenging the utility&rsquo;s dominance. <br /><br />They will be bidding to operate &pound;1.15bn of transmission links from windfarms around the UK, including in the Thames estuary and near to East Anglia.<br /><br />The bidding companies, which also include a consortium led by two ex-Grid offshore chiefs, will be putting up money to connect nine wind farm projects. <br /><br />The offer could see parts of the UK&rsquo;s electricity network being run from overseas for the first time. <br /><br />Scottish &amp; Southern Energy and npower, which is run by German group RWE, are bidding along with Irish operators ESB International and Imera.<br /><br />Denmark&rsquo;s Dong, Statoil, which is based in Norway, a Dutch infrastructure fund, Canadian group Frontier Power and the ever-present Australian fund group Macquarie are also bidding.<br />