Britain's regional electricity companies (RECs) are being attacked by the Association of Independent Electricity Producers (AIEP) over prices charged for connection to and use of their distribution systems.
In a report to the Electricity Regulator, Steven Littlechild, the AIEP complains that while generators are subject to increasing commercial pressures, the "monopoly transmission and distribution businesses are not competitive and system charges are higher than they should be." Connection agreements tend to be in favour of the REC and connection charges are often unnecessarily high, it says. The report welcomes Littlechild's move to introduce competition into grid connection.
The AIEP also calls for the RECs to reward embedded generators. The RECs can often save money by buying some of their power requirements locally, it says. Every unit purchased locally can save them grid system charges incurred when power is imported long distance. Correctly located embedded generation can also benefit the RECs' networks by providing reactive power and offering network stability.
"Our smaller members, in particular, often have difficulty persuading their host REC that the benefits of local generation should be properly reflected in payments to the producer," says the AIEP's David Porter. If Littlechild acted on the AIEP's recommendation, wind farm operators would benefit.