Grid operators want powers to weed out “zombie requests”

Electricity grid operators are calling for more powers to weed out so-called “zombie requests” which are clogging up their waiting lists, the Financieele Dagblad reports.

Electricity networks in many parts of the country are reaching the limits of their capacity, resulting in waiting lists totalling some 9,400 businesses.

However, the figures include requests from businesses that don’t need them, grid operators’ organisation Netbeheer Nederland has said.

“We publish these figures but we don’t know exactly what they’re telling us,” a spokesman told the paper. “Businesses are so eager for a connection they put in multiple requests at different locations,” he said.

The longer the waiting list, the greater the likelihood that businesses apply for connections in more than one site. “By the time a company can be connected they turn out not to have a viable business model and they don’t need the connection after all,” the spokesman said.

Examples include green hydrogen plants, Ruben Rasing, account manager at national grid operator Tennet, said. “They claim a lot of capacity but then cry off at the last moment.” For example, Rasing found one battery maker had put in requests for a grid connection at 112 sites.

Every request has to be processed which costs money and manpower which could be better used to expand capacity, he said.

Uncertainty about how many zombie requests are clogging up providers’ waiting lists can influence investment decisions, while legitimate businesses get the wrong idea about waiting times.

To solve the problem grid operators want more powers to check if requests are viable. “We want to be able to ask businesses how likely they are to need a connection, for instance by showing us a licence or a good business case,” Rasing said.

Another deterrent is to increase the amount businesses have to pay in advance, he said, although experts fear this could boost speculation, with businesses selling their front row spot for millions of euros.

Climate minister Rob Jetten supports the call from the grid operators and has said he will be conferring with consumer authority ACM about how to best weed out zombie requests, the FD said.

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