The managing director of a leading multi utility connections provider has expressed disappointment at the pace with which many regional electricity distribution companies are opening their markets to competition. Bill McClymont, managing director of Core Utility Solutions, was commenting on responses from distribution network operators (DNOs) - former monopoly regional electricity companies - to liberalising proposals made by regulator the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM).
said: "Although DNOs are opening their markets to competition in most respects, the only distribution companies prepared to consider making live jointing contestable are: ScottishPower
, which is currently running a trial allowing third parties to carry-out this work in its area; United Utilities, which has just begun a similar pilot; and Northern Electric/Yorkshire Electricity Distribution, which has indicated its willingness to discuss such a project.
"The main reason given by DNOs for opposing liberalisation is an unwillingness to increase the risks they run without gaining a reward.This is disappointing, as the live jointing trial in the ScottishPower area has already indicated making this work contestable would not create significant problems for DNOs."
Responses on the National Registration Scheme were also unjustifiably guarded, Mr McClymont
said.Most DNOs said they wanted more detail, especially about the planned management board and governance arrangements, before committing themselves to accepting it.
On service standards, Mr McClymont
said: "The response from DNOs is again disappointingly lukewarm, as timely information from distribution companies is vital if independent connections providers are to carry-out their work most effectively.Aquila believes service standards should be comparable to statutory requirements, which are less demanding than OFGEM's proposals; East Midlands Electricity has merely provided evidence that it already meets the time-limits for providing formal quotes in most cases; and United Utilities has just said it aims to meet or beat the standards for providing information to third parties about points-of-connection of new networks to the mains supply.
"The London, Eastern and Seeboard Power Networks organisation maintains the draft service standards proposals place an unacceptable recording burden on DNOs and Scottish and Southern Energy says the number of standards suggested is excessive."
overall verdict on the responses, Mr McClymont
said: "The submissions underline the pace at which competition is taking effect in the electricity connections market is disappointingly slow, with the overwhelming majority of work still being done by local DNOs.