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Audio Transcript: RIIO-T2 and the role of the independent User Group

The text below is the transcript from the 'RIIO-T2 and the role of the independent User Group' video. An audio-described version of the video is also available.

Video Title: RIIO-T2 and the role of the independent User Group

SP energy networks is a regulated monopoly and every five years or so they have to have a business plan approved by Ofgem who are working on behalf of the consumer to try and make sure that the company gets the right return and does the right things.

The user group chair by Charles Henry we are about a dozen people from a range of backgrounds providing challenge to the business plan.

In putting together, the user group what we've tried to do is to make sure that all the different interest groups are represented within that so we have people who represent the large generators the large users the people who have been connecting into the grid we have people who are there from an academic perspective people who've just got a background in different parts of the energy sector.

RIIO T2 is the regulatory framework for the transmission system and it's incredibly important because the costs of that are borne by all of us across the UK large and small.

It's important that the balance between the investment and the recovery that the companies that are to make as in the customer and interest and there's not overt investment that the customers are paying for assets that aren't used and there's no under investment which means that there's not a secure and reliable Network.

It's a new attempt to trying to - given the custom the important voice that it deserves in the place control period.

When Ofgem started the process for RIIO T2 – they wanted to have a good deal of scrutiny of that they wanted to have individual user groups looking at the business plans working right the way through the development period alongside the companies preparing them and then separately to have a challenge group which worked with Ofgem in a way to provide another level of scrutiny both of the companies and of the user groups.

We`re interested in the technical basis of the proposal were interested in its economic impact how stakeholders have been engaged ultimately we're looking to then have confidence in the business plan.

We've different people in the group who come from different backgrounds but generally our roll is, is acting on behalf of all kinds of users of the system so that when these spending plans are getting built that they are the right spending plans.

I hope that by taking a very firm and clear line on the scrutiny process we'll be able to assist SP energy networks to get their business plan into place where it's being fully scrutinized where it stands up to study from any group outside and also will be acceptable to Ofgem.

The approach which we've had with SP energy networks is to have a respectful distance between us so we work collaboratively together but at the same time there needs to be a formal distance because we are independent and we our job is to scrutinize and to be difficult in that process as required.

I'm particularly focused on looking a and how SP energy networks are ready to connect more renewable generation how they're ready to deal with changes in use of more electric vehicles or more battery storage or energy storage.

So as the user group we have an access all areas passed to SP energy networks and through that we've been able to speak to pretty much all of the senior people involved with creating the plans that  are running the teams that are actually doing the work and each one of those people has just been really open and honest and transparent about the information that they've got to share with us and respond very positively to the challenge that we give.

I think more surprising thing is probably and the bits that you don't really see and it's really the scale that the non-load investment plan and everything that goes into the day-to-day operations when the incidents of the energy Network.

Interesting would be going to see the control center visiting now an operational substation seen how the substation is managed operated.

I think the thing that surprised me most is the level of stakeholder engagement the amount of time and effort put in to communicating with all stakeholders there's been the thing that I think is been terrific.

All the questions that we've asked we've got the responses to all of the challenges that they put down I've got responses to we've got access to the people who need access to, there hasn’t been any resistance in your part which is good.

Although this is something which is scrutinizing SP energy networks I feel that they're actually welcoming the  process because it will help them I believe to deliver a better business plan and that's in everybody's interest.


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