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Date set for £3 billion National Grid awards

Network operator says its decision on the winners of six contracts is expected in October

THE MAN in charge of a £3 billion spending spree being planned by National Grid to revamp its ageing electricity network said he expects to appoint six teams for the work in October.

Half a dozen contracts are being fought over, with the five-year deals - which will mirror National Grid's Gas Alliances - starting next April.

Each has an option to be extended by a further f ive years.

The network operator's director of UK construction, Rowan Sharples, said he did not think any firms would win more than one contract.

He added: 'It might go to five but at this t ime I expect it to be six.'

National Grid will spend around £550 million a year on the work, which has been broken down into overhead line and substation packages.

The overhead line scheme has been divided into two regions - east and west - which are both worth between £400 and £500 million during the five years.

The substation package has been dived into four contracts including the south-east, Midlands and the north. These three contracts are worth £500 million over the five years. The fourth contract - covering the south-west and Wales - is worth £250 million over the same period.

Mr Sharples said the latter contract could be awarded to a team that has already picked up a deal.

National Grid will finish its assessment of the competing firms' culture, safety and environmental credentials today (Thursday), with preferred partners appointed in October. Formal awards will take place in January.

The contracts involve a swathe of work that will include everything from line refurbishment to replacing out-of-date pylons.

Electricity bidders

Substation ABB/Morgan Est Amec Areva/Skanska/Mott MacDonald Balfour Beatty KBR/Nuttall/Gleeson Siemens/Parsons Brinckerhoff Power/Murphy United Utilities/Costain/MWH Overhead line Amec Balfour Beatty Morgan Est/Vinci/Capita