Connect with us

News

1,280 per cent standing charge rise ‘punitively eyewatering’ says chief executive

Middle Level is responsible for 190km of embanked watercourses

Avatar photo

Published

on

Chief executive Paul Burrows of the Middle Level Commissioners described increases in electricity standing charges as “punitively eyewatering”. The standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station, he says, has increased by 1,282% from £3,915 to £54,140.

“Across our portfolio of assets there are 67 electric meters and the standing charges have increased in total by 509% from £25,547 to £155,662 as a result of the Targeted Charging Review,” says Mr Burrows.

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Advertisements
Pictures

He has responded to OFGEM’s review of standing charges and claims “the Targeted Charging Review did not consider the bespoke needs and role of the Internal Drainage Board (IDB) sector within its concept and therefore its implementation has been unfair”.

The chief executive told OFGEM: “The dramatic step-change increase in standing charges has had to be borne by our ratepayers (i.e. farmers and land managers within the district who benefit from the pumping) and via special levies on district councils within these areas.

“The latter is passed on to residents via Council Tax creating additional financial burdens on Council-delivered critical public services.”

“Electricity costs form a significant proportion of IDBs’ overall revenue expenditure, therefore the impact of the Targeted Charging Review, if it continues, will have a disproportionate impact on our public service objectives and place people, businesses and critical infrastructure at greater flood risk, increasing the risk to life and livelihoods.”

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Middle Level is responsible for 190km of embanked watercourses, 160km of which are statutory navigations, and two major pumping stations.

This system moves excess water from the lowest land in the country into the Tidal River Great Ouse via St Germans Pumping Station. The current pumping station, opened in April 2010, is the largest of its type in the UK, with a maximum pumping capacity of 100 cubic metres.

Following Storm Henk in early January St Germans Pumping Station reached a record volume of 77 cumecs of water being pumped (100 cumec max capability).

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Middle Level provides flood protection to more than 8,000 homes, at least 1,600 commercial properties, 57,000 hectares of farmland and vital road, rail, and power infrastructure.

Mr Burrows said: “This winter is likely to prove a record breaking one for land drainage pumping here in the Fens with record volumes already having been pumped at our St Germans Pumping Station.

“We provide a critical public service that not only protects lives and livelihoods from flooding, but also protects key gas and electricity supply infrastructure.”

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

He added: “The costs of pumping are substantial, and the increases we have seen to standing charges over the last 12-month have been punitively eyewatering.

“I urge Government and OFGEM to reconsider their approach to our sector.”

Middle Level Commissioners administer 29 smaller IDBs (jnternal drainage boards) and 24 of which have electric powered pumping stations.

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

If you’d like to understand more about how the Middle and South Levels of the Fens works within the Great Ouse catchment, then we’d recommend taking a read of the following publication.

https://www.ada.org.uk/…/Future-Fens-Flood-Risk…

 

Here is the full text of the letter from PAUL BURROWS, chief executive of Middle Level Commissioners, to OFGEM

We welcome OFGEM’s call for input into its review of standing charges. We feel that the Targeted Charging Review did not consider the bespoke needs and role of the Internal Drainage Board (IDB) sector within its concept and therefore its implementation has been unfair.

Indeed, the scope of this review feels biased towards domestic customers, therefore our response is a more general one rather than answering specific questions posed within your consultation.

For more information about the IDB sector please refer to the Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA). Who are we and what do we do?

We are a public authority who protect a large area of the Cambridgeshire and Norfolk Fens from flooding via river embankments, water control structures and pumping stations.

The area is low-lying and below sea level, with some areas of land needing to be pumped three times before rainfall is safely evacuated to sea.

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Here at the Middle Level Commissioners, we administer 29 smaller IDBs and 24 of which have electric powered pumping stations.

We also own and operate St Germans Pumping Station, the largest land drainage pumping station in the UK.

Across our portfolio of assets there are 67 electric meters and the standing charges have increased in total by 509% from £25,547 to £155,662 as a result of the Targeted Charging Review.

The standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 and currently only circa 50% of the station’s maximum capacity is served by the grid.

The electricity baseload needs of our assets is relatively low but the maximum capacity we need in times of flood concern is high, with the duration that we need high capacity being relatively short. Our needs are entirely dependent upon the weather and this winter is already proving likely to be a record breaking one for pumping.

Following Storm Henk in early January St Germans Pumping Station reached a record volume of 77 cumecs of water being pumped (100 cumec max capability).

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

What are the financial benefits to the electricity sector within the Middle Level?

We estimate that IDB and Environment Agency flood infrastructure within the Middle Level currently avoids £275million of damages to the electricity utility assets. This loss is calculated for damages to electricity generation and distribution assets within the Middle Level of the Great Ouse Fens.

The losses are calculated only where the infrastructure would be permanently lost to flooding. Source: Future Fens Flood Risk Management, Baseline Report (see pages 102, 106, 116) Proudly managing water levels in the Fens since 1862 www.middlelevel.gov.uk How are we funded?

The dramatic step-change increase in standing charges has had to be borne by our ratepayers (i.e. farmers and land managers within the district who benefit from the pumping) and via special levies on District Councils within these areas.

The latter is passed on to residents via Council Tax creating additional financial burdens on Council-delivered critical public services.

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Electricity costs form a significant proportion of IDBs’ overall revenue expenditure, therefore the impact of the Targeted Charging Review, if it continues, will have a disproportionate impact on our public service objectives and place people, businesses, and critical infrastructure at greater flood risk, increasing the risk to life and livelihoods.

Net Zero There are also a small number of diesel-powered pumping stations within the Middle Level that are coming to the end of their design life, along with many stations that use a combination of diesel and electricity.

Schemes to address most of these are within the Government’s Flood & Coastal Erosion Investment Programme funded by Defra via the Environment Agency.

The step-change increase in standing charges has resulted in IDBs being cautious about progressing these much-needed improvements to their assets at a time when Government is looking for delivery authorities to accelerate schemes to improve the nation’s flood resilience.

Advertisements
canopyuk.com in-article
Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Why do we feel the Targeted Charging Review has been unfairly applied to our sector?

1 We were not abusers of the previous charging system and have become a victim of the new system.

2 The critical public service role of Internal Drainage Boards has not been considered, understood, and catered for within the changes that have been applied. We are not commercial profit-making businesses.

3 IDBs cover about 10% of England so the impact of this unfairly penalises people and businesses within lowland areas compared to the remaining 90% of the country. Fenland is also relatively deprived, magnifying the unfairness.

4 Our pumping stations and other infrastructure provides flood protection to the electricity sector (and to its customers), and this has a financial benefit to the sector. The sector makes no financial contribution to IDBs for the flood protection services we provide. This is grossly unfair.

What are we asking of OFGEM? Defra is the government policy lead for Internal Drainage Boards, and we ask that OFGEM work with the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ) and Defra to:

1) Agree an exception case for our sector, and

2) Agree a framework whereby the energy sector financially contributes to relevant revenue and capital expenditure of IDBs where the a) IDB’s infrastructure provides flood protection to energy sector assets and b) there is a residual need to move from diesel to electricity driven pumping.

Paul Burrows Chief Executive, Middle Level Commissioners chiefofficers@middlelevel.gov.uk

January 2024

(Proudly managing water levels in the Fens since 1862 www.middlelevel.gov.uk )

On behalf of the following twenty-five public authorities:

Middle Level Commissioners

 Benwick Internal Drainage Board

 Conington & Holme Internal Drainage Board

 Curf & Wimblington Combined Internal Drainage Board

Euximoor Internal Drainage Board

Haddenham Level Drainage Commissioners

Manea & Welney District Commissioners

March East Internal Drainage Board

March 5th District Drainage Commissioners

 March 6th District Drainage Commissioners

March 3rd District Drainage Commissioners

March West & White Fen Internal Drainage Board

 Nightlayers Internal Drainage Board

Nordelph Internal Drainage Board

Over & Willingham Internal Drainage Board

Ramsey First (Hollow) Internal Drainage Board

Ramsey Fourth (Middlemoor) Internal Drainage Board

Ramsey Upwood & Great Raveley Internal Drainage Board

 Ransonmoor Drainage Commissioners

Sawtry Internal Drainage Board

Sutton & Mepal Internal Drainage Board

Swavesey Internal Drainage Board

Upwell Internal Drainage Board

Waldersey Internal Drainage Board

Warboys, Somersham & Pidley Internal Drainage Board

 

 

 

 

 

 

Middle Level Commissioners chief executive Paul Burrows has responded to OFGEM by pointing out that the standing charge for St Germans Pumping Station has increased by 1282% from £3,915 to £54,140 a year. The winter has proved challenging for Middle Level.

Facebook

Read More

Labour group now 10 on Cambridgeshire County Council with the decision by Cllr Keith Prentice to join them. New line up revealed today. PHOTO: Cambridgeshire Labour Party Labour group now 10 on Cambridgeshire County Council with the decision by Cllr Keith Prentice to join them. New line up revealed today. PHOTO: Cambridgeshire Labour Party
News13 hours ago

Former Cambridgeshire Conservative county councillor moves to Labour

Keith Prentice is the county councillor for St Neots Priory Park & Little Paxton

Charles Swift: a city councillor in Peterborough for 62 years. He is thought to have been the longest serving councillor in the country Charles Swift: a city councillor in Peterborough for 62 years. He is thought to have been the longest serving councillor in the country
News13 hours ago

62 years a councillor, Peterborough honours former city mayor Charles Swift

Charles Swift passed away in August 2022 aged 92

Residents are asked to have their say on the Waterbeach to Cambridge transport scheme, that will support thousands of new homes being built in the new town and provide quick and easy options to avoid travelling on the busy A10. Residents are asked to have their say on the Waterbeach to Cambridge transport scheme, that will support thousands of new homes being built in the new town and provide quick and easy options to avoid travelling on the busy A10.
News14 hours ago

Help us shape Waterbeach to Cambridge transport plans says GCP

There are three public events where people can find out more

Rytis Lisauskas, 32, had been turning up at the victim’s home in Peterborough every day since their decade-long relationship ended in July last year. Rytis Lisauskas, 32, had been turning up at the victim’s home in Peterborough every day since their decade-long relationship ended in July last year.
Crime15 hours ago

Huntingdon stalker jailed for ‘violent attacks’ on ex wife in Peterborough

Victim and her family experienced 'traumatic' time

Renaldo Denollari of Elderberry Close, Ely, grew cannabis in 2 bedrooms and his loft in Ely. He has been jailed Renaldo Denollari of Elderberry Close, Ely, grew cannabis in 2 bedrooms and his loft in Ely. He has been jailed
Crime15 hours ago

Jail for Ely man who used 2 bedrooms and a loft to grow cannabis

Police offer reminder on how to spot a cannabis 'farm'

Cllr Marco Cereste, surrounded by family and friends, is believed to be the first person of Italian ethnicity to be elected mayor of a British city. PHOTO: Terry Harris Cllr Marco Cereste, surrounded by family and friends, is believed to be the first person of Italian ethnicity to be elected mayor of a British city. PHOTO: Terry Harris
News18 hours ago

In Peterborough Il nuovo sindaco è italiano – the new mayor is Italian

Cllr Marco Cereste arrived in England in 1953 on Coronation Day

Cllr Dennis Jones, new leader of Peterborough City Council, wants to introduce a ‘true café culture’ into the city centre and ‘make it a place where it is welcoming’ PHOTO: Terry Harris Cllr Dennis Jones, new leader of Peterborough City Council, wants to introduce a ‘true café culture’ into the city centre and ‘make it a place where it is welcoming’ PHOTO: Terry Harris
News19 hours ago

‘Corbynista, tribal Labour’ leader takes the helm at Peterborough City Council

Peterborough First praised for their 'short but remarkable term in administration'

Cllr Mohammed Farooq: “As Peterborough continues to grow and evolve, we anticipate an even stronger relationship with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority particularly in relation to shaping our public transport, cycling, and walking infrastructure”. PHOTO: Terry Harris Cllr Mohammed Farooq: “As Peterborough continues to grow and evolve, we anticipate an even stronger relationship with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority particularly in relation to shaping our public transport, cycling, and walking infrastructure”. PHOTO: Terry Harris
News2 days ago

BREAKING: ‘I am resigning from my position as the leader of Peterborough City Council’

'There remain some very tough and embarrassing decisions to be made'

Sgt Jamie Cooper who has also been nominated for a Royal Humane Society award and Chief Constable Commendation for his brave actions Sgt Jamie Cooper who has also been nominated for a Royal Humane Society award and Chief Constable Commendation for his brave actions
News2 days ago

Police Federation ‘humbled’ by bravery of Peterborough police officer

Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom said: 'We are incredibly proud of Jamie'

Cllr Dennis Jones is keeping his own counsel about Monday’s meeting. PHOTO: Terry Harris Cllr Dennis Jones is keeping his own counsel about Monday’s meeting. PHOTO: Terry Harris
News3 days ago

Going, going…. gone as Farooq paves the way for Labour to take the helm at Peterborough City Council

Labour to form a minority administration at Peterborough City Council