The companies are at odds with Network Rail over who should pay for their electricity cables to be rerouted to make way for the work to upgrade Britain’s train lines.
The government is pushing ahead with a multi-billion pound programme to switch Britain from diesel to electric trains, which are faster, greener, quieter and can carry more passengers.
The bulk of the costs will be borne by the general taxpayer and power network companies say this should also be the case for the work to their cables, which is needed to ensure they are a safe distance away from Network Rail’s gantry systems that provide power to trains.
But the companies fear Network Rail is expecting them to pay for the work and claim this would lead to bill-payers in some regions picking up a disproportionate share of the costs.
Tim Field, spokesman for Energy Networks Association, representing the electricity and gas networks said: “Electricity customers should not be funding rail electrification by the back door through their bills.”