Since full privatisation in 1990 the energy networks have improved reliability significantly and delivered an excellent service for people and businesses across the UK. Network companies continue to innovate to support Net Zero emissions by 2050.
36,000 jobs energise the economy
Directly employing around 36,000 people with many more contractors, the energy networks have a vital role in supporting UK plc. The UK is also ranked globally eighth by the World Bank for ease of getting electricity. This is well above countries like the US and France (64th and 17th). Decarbonising gas and new technologies such as hydrogen are allowing companies to become a global leader and develop the high skilled jobs of the future.
9/10 in customer service
Customer service scores recorded by Ofgem for both electricity distribution and gas distribution currently stand at 8.9 out of 10. Electricity network companies also offer additional services to their vulnerable customers and have over seven million customers registered for this support. Gas networks have also connected almost 77,000 households under the Fuel Poor Network Extension Scheme who now have access to cheaper heating.
17% fall in costs since the mid 90s
The cost of transporting a unit of electricity around Britain has fallen by 17% since the mid-1990s. Costs are projected to remain stable: 2019-20 electricity transmission and distribution network costs are estimated to be £126 per annum (a rise of £4 from the previous year) with gas transmission and distribution rising by £4 to £128 per annum. The National Infrastructure Commission has identified up to £8bn per annum savings/efficiency thanks to networks investing in innovative new technologies.
- The cost of the gas and electricity network is less than 70p per day per customer
- Over £5 billion in savings for consumers has been secured since 2013
- Over £100 billion of investment has been delivered by network companies since privatisation. A significant portion of which has been spent with UK companies and their supply chains.
Safety has improved tenfold
Health and safety of the public and network staff is a key priority for the energy network businesses. Safety has improved considerably since privatisation. Total Recordable Incident Rate reporting under RIDDOR for electricity network staff shows a tenfold improvement since 1990.
59% fewer power cuts and 84% shorter
Since privatisation customers have 59% fewer power cuts while their length has been reduced by 84%. Since RIIO-ED1 was introduced in 2015 customers have 14% fewer power cuts while their length has reduced by 10% . An average customer would have a power cut less than every two years which will last for 35 minutes. Gas networks are so reliable that customers would have an unplanned interruption to their supply once every 140 years.
Working towards a carbon-neutral future
The UK government has set a legally binding target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 (2045 in Scotland). The target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, compared with the previous target of at least 80% reduction from 1990 levels. Energy networks have responded quickly to the rapid growth of the low carbon transformation. Renewables’ share of total generation was at a record high level of 33.3% in 2018, up from 29.3% in 2017. Over 30GW generation has been connected to the distribution network. Britain is decarbonising gas: over 100 green gas sites are connected to the network.