The Utility Regulator is publishing our assessment of NIE Network’s performance for the RP5 Price Control period which covers a five year and a half year period from 1 April 2012 to 30 September 2017. It shows that the company has broadly delivered its outputs for RP5. In doing so the company spent more on operational expenditure (opex) than the allowances set by the Competition Commission in its final determination for the RP5 period, but spent less than the capital expenditure (capex) allowances. The combined total of capex and opex funded by NI customers was £21m less than that incurred by the company for the RP5 period.
Specific outputs were set in RP5 for a number of areas of network investment such as the replacement of transformers or the refurbishment of overhead lines. The company exceeded the aggregate total of planned investment outputs in RP5 while marginally exceeding or falling short on planned investment output in individual strands.
A key indicator of network performance is the number of consumers affected by interruptions to supply and the duration of those interruptions. These are recorded as customer interruptions (CI) and customer minutes lost (CML). There was a marginal improvement against both measures in RP5 compared to the average of the four years prior to RP5. We have introduced a new mechanism in the current RP6 Price Control to incentivise the company to find new and innovative ways to improve performance in this key area.
We are publishing this report on past performance at a time that consumers, communities, stakeholders and NIE Networks are focused on how to address the impact of COVID19. Over the past weeks NIE Networks and other utility companies have implemented a number of measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at complying with government guidelines and protecting the health and safety of both staff and consumers. We acknowledge and are grateful for their commitment to securing supplies and maintaining services where possible and for their engagement with us as we collectively seek to navigate the current situation. The immediate and longer-term impacts of the pandemic on NI Networks and consumers is something that we will consider in all aspects of our regulatory work.