Energy watchdog Ofgem announced yesterday (January 23) more than £7bn for Scotland’s high voltage network by 2021 as part of its ‘integral’ work to replace ageing infrastructure.

Ofgem, which is funded by energy customers from across the UK, is ‘fast-tracking’ and ‘cutting’ red tape to get the network upgraded.

However, Scotland’s SNP government is committed to a referendum on independence by 2014 currently, but the timescale is hardly set in stone.

The upgrades, should they get the go-ahead, provide ‘good value’ for consumers nation-wide at 35p a year on each bill until 2021 according to Ofgem.

But the move, could conceivably, leave Scotland benefitting from ‘foreign’ UK funding for years if it achieved independence within a decade.

A spokesman for Ofgem said: “Decisions on the funding would be a political question.

“We can only regulate on the basis of what the current framework is now with Scotland part of the UK.

“It would be down for politicians to address the funding issue should Scotland become independent.”

Ofgem launched a consultation on the proposals which include £2.9bn of investment with up to a further £4.7bn available over the course of the investment which runs from April 2013 to 2021.

The investment is part of Ofgem’s decision to allow energy companies SPTL and Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission to be the first fast-tracked under its new RIIO price control framework, more of which is due to be published on March 1 this year.

Luke Walsh

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