The Utility Regulator are conducting a review of the connection framework to ensure it continues to serve the needs of all consumers, and are seeking stakeholder evidence to assess potential changes to the current connections policy framework in NI and and the costs and benefits of those potential changes.
NEA believe there is a need to ensure that existing consumer protections (across all utilities) are maintained and strengthened to support lower income and vulnerable households during these challenging times.
NEA recognise the need to increase investment in our electricity network and in particular the additional reinforcement costs that will be required if Northern Ireland is going to successfully decarbonise our energy system. We are aware that there have been calls to move away from the current policy whereby the connecting party pays for the connection of their assets and any reinforcement costs, toward a policy where additional reinforcement costs would be socialised amongst all electricity consumers.
Whilst in general we support the socialisation of energy costs; it is our view that is this particular policy change could risk vulnerable and low-income households being disadvantaged, and as a consequence mean they face a greater risk of falling into fuel poverty.