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Lighting: Billing

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the role of the unmetered supply operator (UMSO) is in calculating local authority bills for street lighting; and if he will take steps to ensure that the charging policy of the UMSO does not inhibit the development by local authorities of small-scale trials of low-energy street lighting technologies. (196375)

[holding answer 25 March 2008]: Each unmetered supply operator (in this context, the electricity distributor or DNO) is obliged to prepare a use of system charging methodology approved by Ofgem which is designed to achieve a number of relevant objectives as set out in their licence. These include an obligation to review the Use of System charging methodology at least once a year and have a methodology that takes account of developments in the licensee's distribution business.

Ofgem would expect a DNO to ensure that its methodology takes account of developments in its distribution business and DNOs should be made aware of the results of any small scale trials of low-energy street lighting which may result in changes to a local authority's inventory. It is for the DNO and local authorities concerned to work together and a DNO to assess whether or not, as a result of such trials, a change is required to its Use of System methodology or Use of System charges. This would be a matter that the DNO would generally discuss with Ofgem.