Ants

Extortionate Quote from DNO to lay underground cables, can anybody advise.

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Hi Pro Dave

 

The issue is trying to find out why the quote the DNO have given us is so high and if we can put a case of negotiating it down.  

 

I have considered every route to date but I thought I would just check with the skilled and professional people on the ground with experience to find out if they had any ideas.

 

My first tack was to suggest that it would be to their advantage to upgrade their system and we would share the cost.  That was a defiant NO.

 

I haven't talked with them since while I did more research to find a negotiating leaver!

 

I have tried everything:

 

Tree Threat :  No they would just trim them.

 

Wayleave: No case as this project has been requested by the landowner and cancelling the Wayleaves by Court Order would not work as they would apply for a Necessary Wayleave and was advised by a lawyer that we would not win and the process would take about a year to complete and we would lose and waste money.

 

Height of the cables being too low:  No - all the assets are in good order.

 

I then started talking with an ICP.  I ask them to quote the job, in the hope that we would get a lower price.  It was only then that I learnt about the implications of HV lines verses LV lines.  I did not know this and became aware that the body of the work was non-contestable work due to HV lines and contestable work. The ICP quickly shut my request down after they saw the works that needed to be carried out. We have negotiated to do the trenching which reduced the quote by 30K.

 

So I then looked at how the new Biomass building construction and the delivery lorry might threaten the HV lines in the hope that we could persuade them that it would be to their advantage to put that section underground at their cost and we would take the cost of the rest. I have subsequently found out from Jeremy Harris that the chances of this are unlikely and you can read that thread above.

 

I think now the landowner will have to take this one on the chin.  He will be more reassure that the cost quoted by the DNO is realistic and their Monopoly status is probably not the reason why it is expensive but down to the fact that works involving HV lines, poles and substations are expensive.  

 

Hope that clears this up for you and if you have any tips do let me know. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To Russell Griffiths

 

You are completely right in all that you say.  As a novice in this area, having to learn lots from the internet, I found you guys and now I know.   At the beginning I didn't even know what questions to ask.  Now I do.  Now I know the answers.  All good.  

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I know HV work is expensive.  There is a potential building plot at the top of our road but it has an 11KV line and transformer on it.  The owner got a quote to have these moved, and the cost of doing so was more than a building plot would have been worth.

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I might be wrong but a lot of the items on the list you posted earlier look like stuff needs to provide you with a 240v connection rather than moving cables. Is there no existing supply nearby? 

 

If you are buying this land then you should factor the cost of getting services to site into the value you place on the land. Eg into the price you are prepared to pay for it. Perhaps the seller has already done that, perhaps not.

Edited by Temp

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I was quoted £35k+VAT by our DNO to underground around 120m of overhead HV that bisect our plot. In the end we came to an agreement that they foot the entire cost in exchange for an easement - my neighbours were also on board, which always helps, and the underground works will now extend into adjoining plots so no need for anything above ground/visible on our plot at all now.

 

What are the terms of your wayleave? ours had a 6-month termination clause but we also had a bargaining chip that the cables were actually lower than they should be so I'm not sure how much that swayed the decision with the DNO. I don't imagine nearby trees would make any difference tbh, our wayleave gives them access to come in and assess/chop down anything deemed problematic (which they do regularly).

 

Don't assume they will automatically opt to seek a compulsory wayleave though - have they said they would?. As long as you're being supportive and providing options that should be a last resort for them I would imagine as their network relies on land owners being cooperative and keeping good relationships.

Edited by bgmill

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Thank bgmill.  We are going to try and negotiate and now I think I have enough understanding the their systems to approach with confidence.

 

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On 18/02/2020 at 11:28, Ants said:

Thank bgmill.  We are going to try and negotiate and now I think I have enough understanding the their systems to approach with confidence.

 

 

It looks like I spoke too soon, the heads of terms arrived in the post today for our works and - surprise, surprise - the DNO has included easements to "erect, use, maintain and supplement overhead lines and supports" along the agreed path as well as the underground grants. This is obviously not what was agreed as the whole purpose is to underground everything, not give them a permanent right to do the opposite at their will.

 

A few rounds of email followed and it appears that they're not willing to negotiate so I'm deciding on next steps.  I think it will involve terminating the existing wayleave (signed by the previous owner so may not even be active), serving notice to remove equipment and then fighting against any compulsory wayleave action they take. As I've been cooperative all the way as well as provided an alternative route I hope that will go in my favour if things do go legal.

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Best of luck. Hope it goes well!!!

Edited by joe90

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