Ofgem found that Perth-based SSE did not provide some customers with an offer to connect to the electricity network within the prescribed timescales.
In recognition of these failures, the company has paid £750,000 to the Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust, to assist customers with the cost of electricity connections in rural areas.
During routine monitoring, Ofgem found that between August 2010 and September 2013 SSEPD did not meet the deadline to make a connection offer to 200 customers. As part of their licence conditions, electricity distribution companies have a maximum of three months to make connection offers to customers and must have the appropriate resources in place to deliver their work.
SSE was fined £500,000 by Ofgem in 2011 for breaches of the same licence conditions. They committed, at that time, to putting systems in place avoid a similar situation but these systems have been shown to have flaws. The second fine payment takes into account the failure to fully rectify the 2011 breach and the subsequent repeat of the same breach.
As well as providing an essential service to consumers, timely and cost-effective connections to the distribution system enable economic growth and help to decarbonise the energy we use. For the next electricity distribution price control, RIIO-ED1, Ofgem has included a time to connect incentive for companies to speed up time between application and connection offer.
Sarah Harrison, Ofgem Senior Partner with responsibility for enforcement said:
“This announcement sends a clear message to electricity distribution companies that they must help customers to connect to their network in a timely and efficient manner.”
“Ofgem takes strong action when companies fail to comply with their licence conditions having issued over £100m fines since 2010.