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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-07919: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 9 March 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what action it can take to support people in the North Scotland electricity distribution network area regarding Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks' proposed increase in additional distribution costs in 2017-18 by 23%, with a further 10% increase planned each year until 2023, due to the upgrade of submarine transmission lines, and what discussions it has had or plans with the (a) supplier and (b) UK Government about this.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 27 March 2017

Scottish Ministers meet regularly with SSE to discuss matters regarding investment proposals for grid in the North Scotland area – most recently on 15 March 2017.

The Scottish Government and Marine Scotland have been working closely with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) and the electricity regulator Ofgem since 2014 to ensure that the costs to consumers in the North of Scotland associated with the subsea distribution cable replacement programme are proportionate and can be demonstrated to be justified.

The final impact on cost is currently not known. However, SSEN is undertaking a cost benefit analysis for each and every cable to be replaced and installed. This is designed to ensure all factors are considered in determining the most appropriate method of installation, and any additional cost is justified. The amount of any increase in expenditure is not expect to be finalised until around October 2018.

Scottish Ministers continue to press our UK counterparts to support invest in grid connectivity – particularly to the Islands Authority areas as well as ‘bootstraps’ on the east and west coasts.