Frequently Asked Questions

Who is SP Energy Networks?

SP Energy Networks is part of the ScottishPower Group. We are responsible for the transmission of electricity in central and southern Scotland and the distribution network in parts of North West England and North Wales. Our role is to maintain, operate and invest in our network to secure a safe, reliable, and economic service for current and future consumers.

What statutory obligations does SP Energy Networks have?

Our statutory obligations are set out in the Electricity Act 1989 and in our transmission licence. We must develop and maintain an efficient, coordinated and economical transmission system in accordance with security and quality of supply standards. We must offer to connect new power generators to the system and, make sure any work we do keeps disturbance to the natural and built environment and the people who live in it, work in it or enjoy it to a minimum.  

Who regulates SP Energy Networks?

We are regulated by Ofgem (Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets). Further information about Ofgem is available on www.ofgem.gov.uk, by calling Ofgem's Consumer Affairs team on 020 7901 7295 or by emailing consumeraffairs@ofgem.gov.uk.

How will SP Energy Networks pay for this project?

The project will be funded as part of our regulated transmission business and agreed with the regulator Ofgem. 

Ofgem has recognised the key role of businesses like SP Energy Networks in tackling climate change and ensuring security of supply in its new price control model (known as RIIO-T1) and regulatory framework. You can find out more in our business plan.

Will the cost be added to customers’ bills?

Ultimately the cost of our investment in the electricity system is partly borne by consumers through electricity bills, so we are obliged to be economic and efficient. We recover our costs through transmission charges levied by National Grid.

How much will the project cost?

It is early days and we won’t be able to cost the project fully until we have a definite proposal. It will be funded through our regulated transmission businesses and agreed with the regulator Ofgem.

Why is this project needed?

This project is needed to make sure we continue to provide a safe, secure supply of electricity in Dumfries and Galloway which is a statutory duty. Some of the existing overhead lines were built in the 1930s and are nearing the end of their useful life. We also need to fulfil another duty under our licence, which is to provide capacity for new sources of electricity generation, such as renewables, to connect to the grid.

How will this project help?

This project will ensure local security of supply continues and will provide some increase in transmission capacity. 

When is the project needed by?

We plan to have the project in operation by 2023, but there is a lot to do before then, such as environmental studies, designing the project, obtaining the necessary development consent and building it.

Who gives you permission to construct new overhead lines?

We will be applying for consent under Section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989 to install the proposed overhead lines. As such, applications will be submitted to Scottish Ministers who make the final decision whether to grant or refuse it.

What exactly are you proposing?

We are proposing to replace and modernise the transmission network between Polquhanity, Kendoon, Carsfad, Earlstoun, Glenlee and Tongland.

Will you be consulting local people?

Yes. We carried out our first round of consultation in 2015 when we asked people what they thought of our preferred corridor. Our second round of consultation is now closed. We will carry out another round of public consultation in 2017. Finally, after we submit our application for consent in 2018, there will also be a formal statutory consultation conducted by the Scottish Government. 

Can you use underground cables?

SP Energy Networks is a responsible company and we care about the environment and communities in which we operate. We will work closely with stakeholders and communities to develop a technically feasible and economically viable solution which causes, on balance, the least disturbance to people and the environment.

The UK Government and the electricity industry, including SPEN, constantly review their positions on the use of transmission overhead lines.

Wherever practical, we take an overhead line approach when planning and designing new or replacement major infrastructure projects. However, there are specific circumstances in which undergrounding would be considered. These would be identified through the next stage of the routeing process, once a corridor has been finalised.

You can find out more about our approaches to both overhead lines and undergrounding in our Approach to Routeing Transmission Infrastructure document.

How will you determine the route of the electricity connection?

We are following established guidelines for routeing transmission overhead lines, which combine in-depth environmental studies with technical and economic factors.  A key part of this is consultation with stakeholders and the public to inform the development of the project. 

Will you be removing any existing overhead lines as part of the project?

Building the new transmission overhead lines means we will be able to remove existing overhead lines between Polquhanity, Kendoon, Carsfad, Earstoun, Glenlee, Tongland and Dumfries. This will involve the decommissioning of around 90km of existing overhead line infrastructure. 

When will SP Energy Networks be publishing its response to the original DGSR project consultation?

As we are not progressing the original DGSR Project for a 400kV overhead line from Auchencrosh to Harker, we do not intend to publish responses to all the feedback we received. Should there be a need to progress the full DGSR Project in the future then we would need to consider the specific project drivers and transmission system requirements at that point in time. This could lead to the scope, scale and characteristics of the project differing from that which was consulted on in 2015.

We have now published responses to comments and feedback relating to Zones 3 and 4 of the original scheme (the two consultation zones which are still relevant to the Kendoon to Tongland 132kV Reinforcement (KTR) Project) as part of our consultation report.  See the Summary of Feedback report.