Electricity system gets go-ahead despite concerns

A trading system for the privatised electricity business is to be launched later this month, despite recurrent problems.

A trading system for the privatised electricity business is to be launched later this month, despite recurrent problems.

Paul Donovan

Energy minister Peter Hain has confirmed that the New Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA), which provide a market for electricity supply and distribution companies, will begin on 27 March.

The NETA system was originally due to go live on 21 November but the launch was postponed for four months. Within the last month there have been concerns about the readiness of the systems and the functionality of the process for settling trades.

Commenting on the launch, Callum McCarthy, chief executive of electricity regulator Ofgem, said. "There is still much to be done. We know that issues will continue to arise both before and after NETA Go Live. All concerned will be working hard to ensure that NETA is implemented successfully."

A spokesman for Ofgem added: ”There are outstanding problems over the resilience of the system and there were concerns last week that it would not be available in time. However, the problem has now been tackled.”

The NETA systems have been implemented by Logica which is being paid £50m for its trouble.

A spokesperson for the Electricity Association, which represents the private electricity companies, said: “Our views echo those of Ofgem. There may be problems that need ironing out but our members are committed to a 27 March launch date. Our members have said they are ready to go.”

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