Park Electricity is the electricity provider to the Park. Like all other Park infrastructure services, the ‘private estate’ status means Scottish Hydro Electric’s responsibility starts and ends at the main entrance. Therefore, NFD own and operate the electrical system in the Park, that delivers electricity to customers and maintains the infrastructure. NFD purchases electricity solely from the Findhorn Wind Park, which itself owns and generates electricity via the three wind turbines located to the east of the Park and a number of PV panels located in East Whins.
To find the latest prices please click here.
Understanding your monthly invoice, please click here
UK regulations and standards: Park Electricity, as a supplier/distributor is regulated and governed by OFGEM (the UK’s electricity and gas regulator); and the Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations (ESQCR) and the IEE Wiring Regulations.
The electrical distribution network in The Park has developed over the years to meet the needs of existing users and to accommodate new clients. NFD are constantly focused on the challenges of meeting the demands of a growing eco-village and the tight regulations governing the standards of supply networks, primarily to enhance safety but also to provide a reliable source of electricity within defined tolerances.
In addition, the load demanded by existing occupiers has generally increased, reflecting the greater use of electrical appliances in the home and in business.
Update from Findhorn Wind Park
Our financial year ending last October saw our best production for eight years. Since then our Vestas V17 turbine, Moya, has been decommissioned, reducing our generation capacity by 10%. Particularly notable were the winds continuing throughout the summer months.
- FWP generated 1,229MWh of renewable electricity from our wind turbines and PV arrays.
- In addition, we estimate private PV systems generated a further 40-45MWh of renewable electricity.
- The Park Ecovillage usage was 1,106MWh, so on-site generation exceeded total demand by 14.9%.
- FWP also exported 621MWh of renewable power when the wind turbines generated more than the Park could use, saving a CO2 emissions off the site.
Update from NFD
PARK ELECTRICITY ISSUES
Everyone will be aware of the high cost of electricity Park consumers are experiencing at present. What we aim to do in this newsletter is:
- Explain how the system operates and give a brief overview as to why prices are currently so high;
- Compare these costs to mainstream local prices;
- Communicate what we are doing and hope to do in order to ameliorate this problem.
How the system operates
The Park’s electrical system operates in the following way. Findhorn Wind Park (FWP) generates electricity from the wind turbines and, in order to ensure a supply when the wind is not blowing, contracts with mainstream suppliers so that we can import and export electricity to and from the national grid. The turbines generate nearly as much as we use on The Park, but because the wind is intermittent, about half of FWP production is exported and re-imported at a time when the turbines cannot meet the Park demand. NFD buys electricity from FWP and sells it on to consumers with some additional costs to ensure the overheads and other expenditures incurred in running the low-voltage system across the site can be met. These overheads are shared between all users of electricity, including the Findhorn Foundation, Titleholders Association and NFD’s own usage.
Comparison of Park consumers’ costs with mainstream local prices
Electricity Price Comparison – Nov. 2021 to Oct. 2023 Usage Low Medium High Average Monthly Cost Cost from NFD £47 £110 £148 Forres Consumer A £48 £96 £129 Forres Consumer B £58 £108 £143
This table shows the cost of electricity at the Park for three properties of different types and sizes. Two community members living in Forres provided their electricity unit rates and standing charges (availability) month by month for the two year period. The costs each would pay for the same number of units is shown for comparison.
- The cost from NFD is for standard rate and includes distribution charges.
- The very high unit prices currently being charged at the Park have been assumed to continue unchanged till the end of October.
- The unit rates and standing charges for the Forres consumers have also been assumed to remain the same as the latest bill available.
- Usage between now and the end of October 2023 has been assumed to be the same as this period in 2022.
- Throughout the two years, the standing charges outside the Park are much higher than the NFD availability charge and have continued to increase. This is why the lowest usage customers at the Park will have paid less over two years than comparable Forres consumers, despite the very high prices currently experienced.
What we are doing to ameliorate this problem
- i) Prices
NFD’s has not increased its availability and distribution charges for over ten years, which has helped to keep prices low.
The increased price from our grid supplier was not available until they actually sent their invoice to FWP in early May because the UK government did not announce the new reduced discount until 26th April (even though it applied from 1st April). In order to give consumers some time to understand the full impact of this dramatic price rise NFD did not increase electric prices for a further month. This led to a c.£25k loss on April electricity usage for NFD. This is being slowly recouped from FWP’s windfall reductions – see below.
Although it is under no obligation to do so, FWP has agreed that ‘windfall profits’ arising from the current circumstances – i.e. that electric prices are higher but the costs of running the turbines are largely unchanged – will be used to reduce the cost to NFD and therefore to Park consumers. Month by month, FWP has matched or exceeded the government discounts on the generated electricity it sells to NFD. This saved Park consumers a total of £80,000 through the winter months keeping electricity prices relatively low and stable. FWP did not anticipate the almost total removal of government support without notice.
FWP have continued to support lower prices by providing £8,000 per month, though this has so far been used to recover the £25,000 loss incurred by NFD in April. More will come but production is generally low in the summer months and we don’t anticipate this being able to make a dramatic difference even once NFD has recovered the £25k loss above. (Windfalls only come from FWP generated units sold on site and this summer is seeing little of this so far.)
FWP have now signed a new one year contract for importing power that will see standard rate prices (excluding availability and distribution) at the Park fall to around 31p/kWh. This will apply for a year from 1st Nov. 2023.
- ii) Issues for those with large, unexpected bills
The main challenge is being faced by those who did not read their own meters over the past few months and who were relying on NFD estimating the bills. In some cases where actual use was significantly greater than the estimates, recent bills have been very large. This affects about 20 consumers on The Park – some 10% of the total.
Please note that this new system of self-reporting meter readings was, and is, an attempt by NFD to keep operating costs down, which is in part how we have managed to keep the availability and distribution charges unchanged for so long – see above. If there are those who wish their meter to be read by us in future on a monthly basis we are willing to do this for a small additional charge.
NFD can offer three ways to support those who have been hit hardest.
- a) we can offer people with large bills time to pay them off. This would be by formal agreement.
- b) Where consumers meet certain criteria we can offer a reduction in the total cost of the last electricity bill – please see Hardship Fund details below.
- c) where the above does not result in an agreed outcome we can offer a mediation process.
Finally on this topic, please note that although we understand that these circumstances are very difficult, we will not tolerate abusive and inappropriate behaviour towards our staff. If there are any further such instances we shall be requesting an NFA-facilitated session for resolution with the individual(s) concerned.
What we will be doing in future
FWP will continue to provide reductions in electricity costs via windfall profits.
FWP and NFD have arranged to ensure that the reduced price of c. 31/p a unit will be used from the earliest possible date – i.e. from 1st November this year.
NFD is required to adhere to the ‘maximum resale price regulations’, which stipulate that the cost of importing the electricity is very closely aligned to the amounts we charge on your bills. These dramatic price changes make calculating the relationship between the two difficult but we will be paying close attention to this. Should the former apparently exceed the latter during the year then a small price reduction will follow to deal with this.
Criteria for the Hardship Fund
We cannot be certain what your electricity bills would have been month to month in the absence of meter readings. Nonetheless, we can make a reasonable guess about this.
- If because of the steep rise in prices your bill is estimated to be more than £200 higher than it otherwise would have been had we been provided with meter readings; and
- Your household income is less than £30,500 per year or £24,000 for a single adult (the criteria we use for Park affordable housing applications);
you may be eligible for a reduction in your May electricity bill. Please contact email@example.com without delay if you wish to enquire about this.
This offer will be open until 30/08/2023
FINDHORN WIND PARK & NEW FINDHORN DIRECTIONS LTD
Heat Pumps and Electric Vehicle Charger Installation
If you wish to install a heat pump or EV charger, please complete this form and email it to NFD.
Please click here for the Findhorn Wind Park Generators Connection Policy October 2020