Wind developers are likely to benefit from the introduction of a competitive market for grid connection, being introduced by the electricity regulator, Stephen Littlechild. From April next year the monopoly that the Regional Electricity Companies (RECs) have until now enjoyed in providing connections for customers to their networks will end. Other companies will be allowed to compete to connect first time customers -- whether taking electricity out or feeding electricity in to the network -- or to upgrade existing connections. Littlechild has been concerned about the present levels of connection charges levied by the RECs. David Porter of the Association of Independent Electricity Producers welcomes the move. "Our members are fed up with being quoted high connection charges and also with only the RECs being able to do the work," he says. "Some companies' charges have been so high as to destroy the prospect of some schemes going ahead." As well as pushing costs down, a further advantage from competition is that customers will be able to agree firm dates for connections. "One of the biggest difficulties has been that the RECs will not contract to a fixed date," explains one wind developer. "It has been an additional risk developers have had to take."
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