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Networks’ Good Intentions

12 September 2016

Networks’ Good Intentions [ 510 kb] investigates the extent to which energy networks - the wires and pipes that connect electricity and gas supplies to homes and businesses - are delivering on their social obligations.

Energy networks keep our lights and heating on, are a key part of shaping our future energy system and are rare - but crucial - sources of direct customer support in the event of power cuts or gas leaks. They are also a significant consumer cost: at an average household cost of £265 a year, they’re roughly one and half times the average cost of a mobile phone contract.

In its latest agreement with networks, Ofgem introduced a category of regulated outputs called ‘social obligations’, recognising that:

  1. These infrastructure providers impact almost every consumer in the country

  2. Networks have particular obligations and opportunities with consumers who are vulnerable or disadvantaged.

This research examines what social obligations networks are undertaking now, what they should consider in the future and how they should be funded and assessed.