ENERGY REGULATOR Ofgem came under fire from MPs last week for pressuring electricity companies to rein in infrastructure spending.
They accused the regulator of compromising long term stability of the power grid, increasing risk of widespread power cuts.
'The regulator's policy to date, of both tightly limiting capital expenditure for replacement and continuing the pressure to reduce operational expenditure on maintenance, is incompatible with the long-term stability of the electricity network, ' says a report published by the Commons trade and industry select committee, published last week.
'There is a danger that there is currently insufficient investment in the network to replace in a planned and orderly way equipment which is reaching the end of its life, ' it says.
The report echoes much of the evidence presented by ICE knowledge development manager John Bennett and energy board chairman David Anderson in November 2003.
An Ofgem spokesman rejected the criticism. 'Everyone giving evidence agreed investment has been high, £16bn since privatisation, ' he said.