It’s our responsibility to maintain and upgrade the electricity network across the North West
Electricity North West is responsible for maintaining and upgrading the electricity network across the region from the beautiful Lake District landscapes to the bustling city of Manchester, down to Macclesfield and Buxton.
In 2019/2020 about 20% of your electricity bill went to Electricity North West to manage the distribution network. How much that part of your bill is, and what it’s spent on from 2023-2028, depends on what customers and stakeholders tell us now.
Heating our homes and businesses currently accounts for a third of all UK energy use. We expect to see electricity play an increasingly prominent role in heat provision, driven by affordable clean technologies such as air source heat pumps. We also envisage the way waste heat is valued and harvested will change; bringing additional challenges and opportunities for the electricity networks.
Traditionally, electricity flowed one-way from large power stations through networks to homes and businesses. Today, local green energy producers can power homes and businesses, and supply energy back to the grid. Managing this is complex and demanding, and requires new technical and commercial solutions.
There are more than 5,000 community energy organisations in the UK today, and we expect numbers to soar in the coming decade. Their business models are likely to become ever more ambitious, inspired by work in other countries. Electricity network operators like Electricity North West need to work closely with these organisations, given their pivotal role in the UK’s future energy landscape.
As the energy system evolves, the needs of our consumers will also change. Working with partners, we need to develop stronger relationships with consumers to support their needs, ensure no one is left behind and deliver initiatives to support those customers living in fuel poverty. We also recognise that today’s younger consumers are tomorrow’s bill payers, and we will need to meet their priorities too.
One in 10 Electricity North West customers are businesses, but those businesses account for two-thirds of the electricity delivered by our network. Managing energy costs is vital to the competitiveness of our region’s businesses and it is therefore essential our network not only keeps pace with their requirements but does so at an affordable price.
Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind can be unpredictable. They can also be geographically remote from large population centres. Evolving the way we balance local electricity networks to avoid lulls or surges in power to deliver reliable energy, whatever the weather, will become much more challenging as more of these sources come online.
Meeting tomorrow’s demand just by reinforcing the network won’t be affordable. If we can help customers to be more flexible in when and how they use energy, that will help us all make the most of the existing network, reduce bills and avoid unaffordable reinforcement costs.
Using petrol and diesel to power our vehicles accounts for about a third of total carbon emissions. We need to re-think the way we travel – from using electricity more to adopting new efficient transport systems such as Manchester’s Metrolink tram network.
The UK is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, while here in the North West, we want to hit that target by 2038. These ambitious targets have created local, regional, national and international momentum and innovation to meet them.
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