The UK energy regulator has said it is considering plans to cut the revenue of the UK’s six major electricity distribution companies by up to £13.9m due to poor customer service.
Distribution network operators, or DNOs, are the companies tasked with managing the distribution of electricity from the National Grid to homes and businesses in the UK.
They are allocated regionally, with the six main firms running a total of 14 smaller distribution areas.
DNOs do not directly supply energy to customers – this responsibility falls to the more well-known power companies such as British Gas and SSE – but instead run the infrastructure used to supply the energy.
Part of their role is to connect new homes and businesses to the power network, but Ofgem suspects all six of the firms are failing to do so effectively.
The regulator said in a statement on Monday that the firms, which include UK Power Networks and Electricity North West, may have “fallen short of expectations” with regards to dealing with connection requests from new customers.
“New businesses, generators and housing developers are among those that depend on an efficient connections service,” Ofgem said, highlighting poor communication and failure to fully explain the costs of setting up a new connection as two of the main issues.
Companies were given clear information on the minimum required of them as part of price control documents set out several years ago, the regulator said, but “following feedback from customers to our consultation in July, our view is that all DNOs may have fallen short of these expectations”.
Ofgem said responses to a consultation it held in July indicated that some customers struggled to get timely information from their DNO about when they might be connected, or the updates they did receive were not detailed enough.
Others found that DNOs did not fully explain the costs of new connections to them when giving quotations for the work.
The regulator will now give the companies and other interested parties the opportunity to provide further evidence, before making a final decision on the matter by the end of November.