Energy company EDF says it does not have enough cable to meet demand for site connections

Projects across the country face delay after energy company EDF warned of a shortage of high-voltage cables because of manufacturing problems.

The company has written a memo to developers and consultants warning that deliveries to companies that need a connection to sites will face delay.

The document, which has been seen by Building, states that there is insufficient cable to carry out works planned up to the end of next month.

The memo says: “We understand from manufacturers that deliveries will be increased so that we can rebuild adequate stock levels by the end of December 2006.”

A senior industry source said that this would hinder many projects that are close to completion and want to test and power up parts of a building.

He said: “This is a real headache, but there’s little we can do. We are reliant on EDF and if there isn’t a substation close to a site then we are dependent on high-voltage cable to connect to the nearest mains supplier.”

This is a headache but there is little we can do. We are reliant on EDF

Senior industry source

In a statement EDF Energy Networks said it had contacted customers to alert them that some larger projects may be subject to longer than normal lead times. The statement said: “This shortage has been due to a lack of some of the raw materials needed for these cables, such as aluminium and increased world-wide demand.”

The statement added that a delay to the laying of high-voltage cable would not necessarily affect project completion dates, as some work could be moved later into schemes.

It said: “Customers with new connection requests involving high-voltage work are being sent information on the situation. We are doing everything we can to resolve this situation.”

In the statement EDF, which claims to be the largest power distribution business in the UK, added that it had been working with two cable suppliers to ensure it can use any spare capacity they have.

The news emerges a week after a survey by the National Federation of Builders showed that 86% of projects are delayed by utilities.