After failing to connect people to the energy network, Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD) has paid a total of £750, 000 to the Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust.
An investigation by Ofgem revealed that the distribution company, owned by energy giants and boiler breakdown cover providers SSE, had not offered to connect some of its customers to the energy network within prescribed timescales.
Although energy companies are required to make connection offers to their customers within three months and must have the right infrastructure and resources in place to achieve these timescales, investigators found that SSEPD had not met these requirements for 200 customers between August 2010 and September 2013.
This is not the same time Ofgem has had SSEPD in its sights for similar issues – the company was told to pay a £500, 000 fine in 2011 for breaching the same license conditions. At this time, it committed to putting systems in place to prevent these issues from recurring. Ofgem gave the company a higher fine after taking into account that it had not only failed to fully deal with the problems uncovered in 2011, but that it had breached the same regulations afterwards.
Commenting on these failures, SSEPD Networks Managing Director Mark Matheison said the company was “extremely disappointed” to have discovered that problems with its systems damaged its customer service.
He offered his thanks to customers for their “understanding” and said the firm “fully accepted” it has breached its license obligation.
Mr Matheison described the Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust as a “fitting way” to give something back to people who would have struggled to afford the cost of an electricity connection.
Ofgem Senior Partner Sarah Harrison said the regulator welcomes SSEPD’s admission that it had broken regulatory requirements.
The £750,000 payment to the Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust sends a “clear message” to other electricity distributors that they must connect their customers to the transmission network in an efficient, timely manner.
Since 2010, Ofgem has issued energy companies with fines totalling over £100 million for failing to adhere to the conditions of their license.