The UK electricity sector has seen enormous growth over recent years. In 2010, there were just over 1,000 companies operating in the industry and today, that figure stands at more than 5,500. This represents an increase of more than 400 percent in just eight years and includes businesses operating in the generation, transmission and distribution sectors.
Where has this growth come from?
Swinton Business, which is part of the Swinton insurance group, has identified a number of factors that have contributed to this growth. These include technological advances and government initiatives that help both businesses and domestic users to take full advantage of them.
New government schemes that promote and encourage the use of renewable energy in electricity generation are at the core of this. Schemes like Renewables Obligation (RO) and the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) led to more than a million homes and businesses across the UK installing wind turbines and solar panels on their property.
But meeting the sophisticated needs of consumers, who want more electricity at a cheaper price while being kinder to the environment only tells half the story. The initiatives have also led to a huge increase in the number of businesses supporting these new subsets of the electricity sector in the manufacture, supply, installation and maintenance of the new technology.
It will come as little surprise to learn that Greater London has experienced the greatest surge in demand for electricity and related services. This is a result of the continued growth and regeneration that is being seen throughout the capital, and has led to a necessary expansion in London’s network capacity.
In the East Midlands, a similar pattern is emerging, and increased demand has seen the number of businesses operating in the sector increase from 65 to 265 since 2010. Perhaps the most astonishing area of growth, however, is centred around West Berkshire. Here, there were just five businesses in the electricity sector eight years ago. Today, there are 95.
While the sector might be booming as far as companies and operators are concerned, consumers have seen less to smile about in 2018 to date. Eon recently announced its second price rise of the year, and around two million dual fuel customers are facing an increase of 4.8 percent. Industry analysis suggests that the rise is down to increased operating costs and is specific to Eon, easing concerns that other providers will follow suit.
Eon Chief Executive Michael Lewis confirmed that “a number of costs have risen quite sharply,” and also commented that the extreme weather conditions caused an unexpected increase in the prices the company had to pay to deliver energy to customers.
Looking to the future
Over the coming months, environmental factors will remain at the forefront, as the industry looks to meet ever more stringent renewable energy targets. However, there are also changing consumer habits closer to home.
For example, the increasing use of electric vehicles means the UK will need 100,000 charging ports across the country by 2020. Currently, there are just 16,500.