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Beginning our first separate RIIO price control

It’s now two years ago that the ESO became a legally separate part of the National Grid Group and today is another milestone in our new structure and role, the start of our first ever legally separate price control.  

ESO Executive Director Fintan Slye outlines our priorities for the RIIO-2 period.

It’s a hugely exciting period for the energy industry. The Prime Minister’s 10-point plan, the Energy White Paper and momentum brought by COP26 means change is happening and the industry is beginning the hard work of transitioning towards net zero. 

The ESO has a significant role to play in that transition. The scale of change and investment required to deliver mass decarbonisation and a zero-carbon electricity system is unprecedented. Our RIIO-2 Business Plan will help ensure that those changes are done in the right way, building towards net zero, boosting a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and most importantly, delivering value for consumers. 

There is lots of work to do but we are ready to step up and become the ambitious, consumer-focused ESO that our stakeholders want us to be.

After three years of extensive planning and stakeholder engagement we were pleased with Ofgem’s RIIO-2 Final Determination for the ESO and its support of our ambition and delivery plans. It was clear recognition that our Business Plan demonstrates how we will enable the transformation to zero carbon, ensuring reliable and affordable electricity and value for consumers. 

The electricity markets we manage must evolve as part of this transformation. Developing and improving ancillary services markets and the balancing mechanism is nothing new and is part the role the ESO has been playing for a number of years. But it’s clear the pace and volume of required change has increased. Our plans see us leading on changes that will ensure efficient and fair markets while decarbonising our electricity and breaking down barriers to participation across the whole energy system. 

Find out more about the jobs we’re creating to deliver our RIIO-2 plans

The digitalisation of our electricity system is key to driving innovation and to capturing the benefits of our transition to zero carbon. Open data is very much the lifeblood of an efficient energy system and market, changing the way market participants interact with us and each other and enabling them to make more informed choices. That’s why it’s at the heart of our strategy and vision for the next decade and beyond. 

Our transformational engineering projects will be crucial too, with our Pathfinder work finding new innovative approaches to balance a zero carbon grid that are cheaper and greener. And we must never forget about reliability, future-proofing our Control Rooms to be resilient and agile in an increasingly complex world. We continue to keep the lights on and get energy to people when they need it, maintaining today’s reliability levels in a rapidly decarbonising and decentralising landscape. Our plan sets out how we will introduce new tools and technologies so we can operate the system carbon free, safely and securely by 2025. 

Work begins now to deliver for consumers 

We also strongly believe in our commitment to deliver for consumers, putting them at the heart of everything we do. Our plan sets out how our RIIO-2 activities will generate net benefits of around £2 billion over the next five years, which translates into a £3 reduction on every annual consumer bill.  

There is lots of work to do, beginning today. Our plan is ambitious, led by stakeholders, and sets out the crucial role we will play. Through industry collaboration and open discussion change is possible and the transition to net zero can begin in earnest.