28 Mar 0
One of most important obligations that a distribution network operator (DNO) has is the duty to offer new customers a connection to the electricity network. Connecting supplies enables new businesses to begin trading, generators to be able to export energy and new housing to be habitable. The service that each DNO provides should meet the needs of its connection customers.
Network constraints can affect all types of customers requiring a connection, from large new industrial or housing developments through to renewable generators seeking to export energy onto the grid. Recent years have seen dramatic growth in the number of generators seeking to connect to the distribution networks. In some instances this growth was well in excess of what was anticipated in the DNOs’ plans to develop the network. When customers seek a connection and the network has limited capacity it can be more difficult to get connected. In some instances the additional time and cost of connecting in a constrained area can make it virtually impossible to proceed.
Ofgem is driving the DNOs to make best use of the capacity that remains and to try to find smarter, more flexible ways of connecting customers without having to build new network capacity. DNOs have the funding they require to develop their networks and fulfil their obligation to offer connections. If the network is full and customers can no longer connect, the DNO must take action to ensure economic and efficient management and this requires a more innovative approach. In recent years, through its regulatory framework for networks, Ofgem has funded several trials on how this can be achieved and there are now increased options available to manage capacity limitations.
Ofgem has introduced a new Incentive on Connections Engagement (ICE) which requires DNOs to engage effectively with their customers and report to Ofgem demonstrating delivery of customers’ requirements; failure to do so can result in financial penalties. Ofgem is seeking views from stakeholders on the effectiveness of each DNO at engaging with customers and in developing plans to deal with constraints on their network
Ofgem is keen to hear your thoughts on any aspect of each DNO’s engagement with connection customers and has tabled the following questions specifically:
- What areas have obvious constraints on the network currently?
- What impact do constraints have on the ability to get connected to the network?
- To what extent has the relevant DNO demonstrated its commitment to get new supplies connected?
The deadline for response is 29 April 2016. We are formulating our response to the consultation and would welcome your feedback to incorporate into this.
To have your say, please email the compliance team at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively complete the contact form. To discuss this further please call Melanie Kendall-Reid on 01252 87 87 22.