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Grid may need ‘priority access’ system in future

March 12, 2017

By Paul Homewood




From Utility Week:

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.

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.”

If consumers are allowed to pay extra for enhanced access to the grid, then there will need to be “some sort of priority access for the basic needs for everyone, over other less essential or more flexible requirements”.


We have heard a lot about so called “flexibility” in discussions about future energy strategies. How, for instance, can we cope with intermittency of renewable sources, and how can we move demand away from peak periods.

Andrew Wright has revealed the ugly truth of what it really means. As with any other commodity, when electricity is in short supply it will end up being rationed by price.

  1. March 12, 2017 11:49 am

    The ‘priority access’ that should be eliminated is that given to intermittent renewable electricity providers, at whatever scale. Users should be able to access as much electricity as they can afford to pay for. After all, it is a fully competitive free market with a level playing field, isn’t it? Isn’t it? Conservative Governments believe in a free market, don’t they?

  2. Dave Ward permalink
    March 12, 2017 11:52 am

    “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.”

    Show me a minimum 50% reduction in prices and I’ll think about it…

  3. Joe Public permalink
    March 12, 2017 11:53 am

    Thank goodness SmartMeters will be available to remotely disconnect the tight buggers who refuse to pay their fair-share of supplying peak electricity.

  4. Coeur de Lion permalink
    March 12, 2017 12:18 pm

    Oh ho – here we go. I see this ancient grannie in her darkened, freezing room, huddled in her armchair, her ‘smart meter’ has just switched off her two-bar electric fire because the wind ain’t a-blowin’.

  5. tom0mason permalink
    March 12, 2017 12:43 pm

    Sometime in the future…
    Whose turn is it for the battery today?”

  6. Harry Passfield permalink
    March 12, 2017 12:59 pm

    The two great(est?) enablers of civilisation are energy and water (ymmv). At a domestic supply level they should be supplied at minimal cost to the consumer. At a corporate level they should be provided at suitable (variable?) market rates. There is no rationale, none at all, for any government to use domestic supplies of energy and water as a cash-cow, and any government that does so deserves to be consigned to the wilderness.

    The on-going roll-out of ‘smart’ meters (which aren’t smart enough to allow users to switch suppliers) is the greatest, obscenity of a policy ever inflicted on domestic users – pathetic wind and solar farms notwithstanding. We take the air we breathe as a given for life, even though the powers that be strive to find novel ways to tax it, and I put energy and water into the same category: give life, breed civilisation.

  7. AlecM permalink
    March 12, 2017 1:00 pm

    I predicted this 16 years’ ago but no-one listened. We now enter a period for which Electricity is rationed at peak times by price. Government is subtly pointing out to GLOBE and Common Purpose members that with no proof of any CO2-warming, their destruction of power generation by fossil fuels with no replacement by nukes is leading to electoral catastrophe.

    So, Brexit and power cuts mean a snap election, candidates to be selected on the basis of support for Brexit and no power Grid rationing by price. The latter is the more difficult selection rule because most politicians have been indoctrinated by fake IPCC science.

    Meanwhile our deep state fronted by Roger Harrabin and Sad-Dique Khan is desperately pushing sudden death by particulates to replace death in 50 years, by global warming. In the EU, they’re pretending we’re going to have an Islamo-fascist invasian by ISIS.

    Only the really weird could ave thought this up in advance; I’m guilty as charged!

  8. Athelstan permalink
    March 12, 2017 1:07 pm

    So, if you marry up the previous blog post headline, “Environmental levies to cost £57 billion in next 5 years” and wed it to the conclusion of this post, “when electricity is in short supply it will end up being rationed by price.” We can observe the only logical outcome of Marxist inspired = green enviro lunacy driven energy policy, is it not a very sobering lesson for all green nutters – they should learn it – green energy policy – even it cannot deny the reality of market forces.

    reduce supply but increased demand = rationing and the inevitable price explosion.

    Pakistan has the exact same problems with electricity – supply and demand, except that their problems are ones of limitation through incompetence and lack of any real planning, while Britain planned it all the way – reduced supply.

    Back of fag packet calculation, how many Coal fired plants can you build for £57 billion ~ 12 approx? and end of supply problem.

    The lampposts and piano wire awaits.

  9. March 12, 2017 3:16 pm

    What nutter bought in intermittent power at the same price or higher than reliable power ?

    “Hello National Grid I have some intermittent power to sell you”
    NG “Go away, we don’t buy intermittent power. Find yourself a gas partner or something, so you can together make a reliable power package
    ….. then get back to us”

  10. March 12, 2017 3:18 pm

    Rationing by price is a symptom of system failure.

  11. markl permalink
    March 12, 2017 3:45 pm

    So the elite class is already vying for the limited power they created.

  12. March 14, 2017 3:45 pm

    Tallbloke did a post aswell
    Nice graphic

  13. March 14, 2017 6:47 pm

    Back in 1948 we lived on the southern slopes of Dartmoor. We had a 2 cylinder diesel engine, hand started, with a dirty big flywheel I recall. It thumped throughout the day popping up smoke rings on a windless day and the battery room bubbled contentedly.
    My Dad bought a electric milk float which was used by our gardener and domestic to commute the three miles up from the village. ( A trigger to the future?)
    OK for some; but what now of those bereft of facilities when the grid fails them?
    I now live in an electric only flat, am rising 82. A generator would asphyxiate me, my car is a diesel. I can’t walk far. I’m a dead duck when the smart meter goes click!
    As an engineer I despair at the green agenda. Bad education methinks; but who will educate them now?

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