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How we're helping industry to manage costs throughout lockdown

Throughout lockdown we’ve seen significant reductions in national demand for electricity, creating conditions which are just as important for our control room to manage as when demand is high. We’ve been sharing insight into the additional actions – and costs – that have been needed to keep the system secure during this time of unprecedented low demand.

As the electricity system operator for Britain we’ve also been supporting industry from the outset to tackle the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, working as a team to coordinate efforts and keep the nation’s lights on.

One effect we’ve seen is an increase in what’s known as Balancing Services Use of System (BSUoS) costs, which is a tariff we charge to users of the network (for example generators and suppliers) to recover the costs we incur balancing the system.

To help the market manage these costs, we’ve been publishing more detailed cost forecasts, but we recognise that coronavirus and lockdown have had an unprecedented impact on many industry organisations.

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Find out how lockdown is affecting the cost of operating the electricity system

So we’re pleased to be supporting a change to the way that we recover these system use costs, which has been approved today by Ofgem, the industry regulator. The change – made through a modification to the Connection and Use of System Code (CUSC) – will cap BSUoS tariffs to £15 per megawatt-hour, through to the end of August. Any costs above this cap will be recovered during the next financial year, helping provide financial relief to industry parties. 

As BSUoS costs are paid by network users, they are ultimately included in end consumers’ bills. So this positive step is providing certainty to those industry users – helping them manage their finances over the uncertain summer period – and is also helping keep to a minimum any impact increased system operation costs will have on household and business energy bills.

We’re also working closely with Ofgem and other industry organisations to develop a network support scheme for industry participants who pay the Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charge, which is also paid by network users and which we recover on behalf of Great Britain’s transmission operators. We’ll be sharing more information shortly about the scheme and how it will work.

You can find out more about charges that users of the electricity transmission system pay – and what changes are currently being considered by the industry – on our charging pages.