Western Power unveils £6bn investment plan
Western Power Distribution (WPD) has proposed record investment and a ground-breaking network improvement plan for Somerset, which promises to reduce power cuts, help vulnerable customers, and support environmental targets. The company is wants to hear from customers who would like to comment on its plans.
WPD is responsible for the power lines, poles, transformers, and substations that deliver electricity to 7.9 million homes and businesses across the Midlands, South West and South Wales, including those in Bath.
With a headline pledge to become a Net Zero company by 2028, 22 years ahead of the UK target, WPD’s £6 billion five-year plan details its roadmap to a smarter network that will grow with the region’s increasing demand for electricity. Through extensive ‘bottom-up’ forecasting, it plans to connect a further 1.5 million electric vehicles and 600,000 heat pumps by 2028. The company also intends to work closely to support local authorities and ensure the electricity network is capable of achieving local Net Zero ambitions as early as 2030. WPD says it is committed to protecting areas of outstanding natural beauty by removing 31 miles overhead lines across its distribution regions.
The investment, it says, will be made without increasing costs to customers – energy bills will be broadly the same throughout the years ahead.
The investment will help 113,000 customers in fuel poverty, make savings of £60 million. It will also help WPD support around 387,000 vulnerable customers in the South West on its local Priority Services Register. The company gave £1million in 2020 through its ‘In this Together – Community Matters Fund’ which funded local charities supporting those impacted by COVID-19. The company plans to establish an annual £1 million ‘Community Matters’ fund to support the most vulnerable in its local community until 2028.
‘We’re a proud member of the Somerset community,’ says Mark Shaw, WPD’s Business Plan manager ‘and want to hear views on how we should invest to ensure we support regional growth and a move to a lower carbon economy. Our business plan has been designed in collaboration with more than 9,500 regional stakeholders. We’re now keen to listen to more customers’ views and ideas on how we can best invest in an innovative energy system while continuing to make a real difference to the communities we serve.’
The plan will be further developed over the summer before being submitted to the industry regulator Ofgem in December.
For more information, and to have your say, go here: www.westernpower.co.uk/BP2.