Slow rural power hook-up nets SSE a £750,000 fine

SSE’s power distribution business has netted a £750,000 fine for taking its sweet time when connecting rural customers to the electricity network. Regulator Ofgem dished out the penalty to SSEPD […]

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By Vicky Ellis

SSE’s power distribution business has netted a £750,000 fine for taking its sweet time when connecting rural customers to the electricity network.

Regulator Ofgem dished out the penalty to SSEPD for “not providing timely offers” to 200 customers in northern Scotland and the Highlands a year ago.

The company didn’t make an offer to customers within a set timescale. In their licence conditions, distribution companies have a maximum of three months to make connection offers.

It is SSEPD’s second such fine in three years, coughing up £500,000 in 2011 for breaching the same rule.

Sarah Harrison, Ofgem Senior Partner with responsibility for enforcement said: “We welcome SSEPD’s admission that it breached Ofgem rules.

“Today’s announcement sends a clear message to electricity distribution companies that they must help customers to connect to their network in a timely and efficient manner.”

SSEPD blamed a technical error in its new system.

Managing Director for Networks Mark Mathieson said: “We were extremely disappointed to discover this issue with our systems last year that impacted on the service we provided to our customers. We quickly contacted all the customers affected and, although no customer was impacted negatively, we made individual payments of up to £1000.”

The £750,000 penalty goes to the Scottish Hydro Electric Community Trust which helps customers faced with high charges for rural electricity connections.