This looks more than a little like a warm-up act to the unveiling of the true role of smartmeters, preparing us to be ‘flexible and squeezed’. First or second class electricity? Just tick the box, thank you. That kind of thing.
A senior figure at Ofgem has called for a public debate on how consumers pay for and make use of the UK’s electricity networks, Utility Week reports.
Moves to increase flexibility and squeeze the most out of existing infrastructure could otherwise allow “one group of customers to outbid another group of customers for access”.
“When we consider that capacity may be at a premium – it is increasingly expensive to provide on a marginal basis,” said Ofgem senior partner Andrew Wright, “allowing everyone to charge their vehicles and power their heat pumps without constraint could turn out to be prohibitively expensive for everyone and increasingly difficult to manage on the system.
“In the future, we may need to find new ways of paying for and providing access to the electricity system.”
He said the issue is “contentious” and will need to be approached in a way which “meets society’s expectations of fairness and reliability”.
Wright, who has previously raised fears over the creation of a two-tier energy system, said those who want greater access to the grid in order to use a fast charger for their electric vehicle may need to pay more for it. “Alternatively, people who want to accept some limits on their ability to consume large amounts of electricity when they want may be able to benefit in terms of prices.”