Ofgem rules no bar to National Grid spending

NATIONAL GRID yesterday said it is going ahead with plans to invest up to £3.8bn in the UK’s energy infrastructure over the next year, despite plans from energy regulator Ofgem to limit the company’s spending in future.

The company, which has been in a spat with Ofgem in recent weeks over proposals to curb bill increases and energy network spending from 2013 onward, said it would not alter its plans to spend between £3.5bn and £3.8bn before next April.

Chief executive Steve Holliday said National Grid was “working with Ofgem to secure appropriate long term financial frameworks for our regulated businesses”.

He said in a statement his firm had started the year well and was expecting further growth in the coming months. But Holliday told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting that he did not know what Ofgem’s final proposals for Britain’s energy network, due to be announced at the end of the year, would be or how they would affect the firm in the future.

Ofgem released full details of its initial proposals on Friday. It plans to allow National Grid to spend £22bn on infrastructure and increase fuel bills by £11 a year increase, far less than National Grid’s plans for over £30bn of investment and a £20 a year hike in energy costs.

National Grid also announced it had sold its its electricity and gas distribution businesses in New Hampshire for $309m (£196.8m).