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Citizens Advice response to DESNZ’s consultation on Community Benefits for Electricity Transmission Network Infrastructure

23 June 2023

Citizens Advice response to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s consultation on Community Benefits for Electricity Transmission Network Infrastructure [ 240 kb]

Citizens Advice welcomes the opportunity to respond to the consultation on community benefits for electricity transmission network infrastructure. We are responding as part of our statutory role to represent energy consumers in Great Britain, and have answered questions most relevant to our role.

To outline our main positions:

  • We believe that community benefits should not be voluntary. They should instead be mandated and hard coded, whilst allowing for flexibility about what form benefits take.

  • There should be mandatory minimum levels of payments for community benefits, to ensure that less engaged communities do not experience worse outcomes within this process.

  • It is fair for community benefits to be paid for via consumer bills, as network infrastructure will benefit national consumers in the long-term through the benefits of cheaper renewable energy. However, there needs to be an agreed and consistent approach to allocating funding to ensure a fair trade-off between local and national interests. 

  • More clarity is needed on how this consultation should interact with the planning process. We believe that benefits should not be employed to influence community consent, as this could result in unfair outcomes for communities less likely to engage. Setting the available pot for community benefits at a fixed level should mitigate against this outcome.