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We've outlined our ambitious plan to invest £6.7 billion to transform the energy network and drive net zero

Net zero carbon emissions in the UK cannot happen without a smart and flexible energy grid, ready to connect millions of low carbon technologies. We have today outlined plans to enable stakeholders across the Midlands, South Wales and the South West to achieve their net zero ambitions. And we are going to lead by example, achieving net zero across our own operations, 22 years ahead of UK and Welsh governments’ targets.

Under the new plans, covering the five year period 2023-2028, customers will be able to quickly and easily connect their electric vehicles, heat pumps and renewable generation to the network in huge volumes – with an additional 1.5 million electric vehicles and 600,000 heat pumps expected by 2028. As part of this, we will offer same day connection offers to thousands of customers across the region and will ensure the electricity infrastructure is ready for the changing needs of customers today and for many generations to come.

Crucially, we are pledging that no one will be left behind in the shift to a smart energy future. We are proposing an ambitious programme to support customers in vulnerable situations, including offering 600,000 customers a smart energy action plan each year to help access the benefits of low carbon technologies. It will also support 113,000 fuel poor customers to save more than £60 million.

We also plan to work with every school in the area, providing electricity safety information to more than 200,000 school children, as well as providing £540,000 a year to install solar panels on school roofs and pledging to insulate, underground or divert electricity cables near school playing areas to keep children safe.

We have co-created our Business Plan with over 25,000 stakeholders over the last two and a half years, developing a final set of 42 ambitious core commitments and over 400 wider commitments. Research shows that the plan has achieved huge levels of acceptability among current and future bill paying customers, with only 4% not finding the plan highly acceptable.

The final plan, submitted today to the electricity regulator, Ofgem, outlines how we will invest in our network over the upcoming five year period (2023-2028) and sets out how we will continue to improve on our already industry-leading service. Our plan promises to deliver lowest ever power cut levels and achieve an average customer satisfaction of 93%. To achieve all this we are committing to keep customer bills in line with present day levels, despite an increase in investment of £1.4 billion over the five year period. We will achieve this by delivering a huge range of operational efficiencies and utilising innovation and digitalisation to enhance our services.

Phil Swift, WPD’s Chief Executive, said: “The future of energy has never been more exciting. WPD is leading an energy revolution: delivering a smart, digitalised electricity grid by 2028, while keeping customer bills broadly flat. The reason we exist as a company is to serve the 8 million homes and businesses in our region. Our customers can have full confidence that we’re ready to delivery on our ambitious and innovative proposals. By doing so we’ll ensure that our regions are at the forefront of the nation’s shift to net zero and a low carbon future.”

“Our plan has been built following our most extensive consultation programme ever. I’m very grateful to the thousands of customers that have collaborated with us to create our commitments. It’s a Business Plan we are very proud of as it reflects the priorities and expectations of the people we serve.”

Phil added: “We are a highly adaptive and innovative business. Since 2015 we have already begun to transform our network, ready to connect more than 31GW of distributed generation on a network conventionally designed for 14GW of demand. But that is just the start. Our Business Plan presents an opportunity to deliver unprecedented digitalisation and innovation to deliver an electricity network to meet the rapidly changing needs of our customers in a net zero carbon future. Crucially, we are leading by example – having reviewed our own business carbon footprint, we are committing to become a net zero business by 2028 – twenty-two years ahead of the government’s schedule.”

Our Business Plan includes 42 core commitments and will achieve four overarching outcomes that customers have identified as their top priorities:

SUSTAINABILITY: Lead the drive to net zero as early as possible.

  • For example, we achieve a 10% net gain in biodiversity for new major projects and large substation sites.

CONNECTABILITY: Customers can connect 1.5 million electric vehicles and 600,000 heat pumps.

  • For example, we will help more than 150 community energy schemes to connect their local, renewable generation to the network.

VULNERABILITY: First class vulnerable customer support programme where everyone benefits in a smart future.

  • For example, we will offer a £1 million ‘Community Matters’ support fund every year, funded entirely by WPD’s shareholders, to help local communities and grassroot groups.

AFFORDABILITY: Maintain excellent customer service, safety and network performance and transform the energy grid for future generations, while keeping bills broadly flat.

  • For example, we will deliver £723 million of embedded efficiency savings in our plan, with a further £95 million of ongoing efficiencies to come in RIIO-ED2.

Phil concluded: “We’re confident that our far-reaching yet affordable commitments will enable us to meet the challenges of a fast changing energy future. It will power ambitious improvements and will place our customers at the heart of the move towards a low carbon future.”

For full details about our business plan, click here

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