Connections

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Our connections propositions for the next business planning period (2023-2028) are grounded in extensive feedback from stakeholders People and groups with an interest in our operations as the region’s electricity distribution network operator. This includes customers, local authorities and installers of low carbon technology .

Delivering new connections to our network is one of the most important things that we do. As the energy system evolves, the way we enable connections of low-carbon technologies – from new housing developments with heat pumps to electric vehicle (EV) charge stations – will evolve to ensure we are always an enabler of decarbonisationThe reduction, and ultimately elimination, of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In relation to electricity this means the reduction of emissions caused by the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity and the provision of entirely carbon-free electricity to homes and businesses. Decarbonisation of the whole energy system includes removing emissions from transport and heat, which will be powered by alternative low-carbon methods and not a barrier to it.

As we enter our next business planning period, we are able to reflect on the way we have done things to date. We have delivered a step change in our connections services by reducing small works connections Delivering new connections to our LV network. For example, connecting two new build houses, or new electric vehicle chargers. Anything under 50KVa. lead times by 25 per cent and launching our award-winning AutoDesignOur online low-voltage connection budget estimation tool, allowing customers to generate quick and accurate quotes to support budget estimations for proposed connections budget estimate tool.i For major connections customers we have provided more support and made our quotations more flexible.

Feedback from connections customers and other key stakeholders People and groups with an interest in our operations as the region’s electricity distribution network operator. This includes customers, local authorities and installers of low carbon technology has been instrumental in developing proposals for our next business plan period. In the coming years (2023-28) we will deliver a cost-effective, efficient and personalised service for all our connections customers. Smarter, more flexible solutions will support the connection of low-carbon technologies to our network as we facilitate the transition to net zero Achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emissions being produced (including carbon dioxide) and greenhouse gas emissions being taken out of the atmosphere (e.g. by planting more trees) so that, overall, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is no longer increasing . We will develop automated processes to simplify the application and notification procedure for EV charging points and heat pumps and offer independent advice about these technologies.

Customers will see the following outcomes:

  • small works customers, including those who are vulnerable, will receive additional support to get connected;
  • drive towards net zero Achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emissions being produced (including carbon dioxide) and greenhouse gas emissions being taken out of the atmosphere (e.g. by planting more trees) so that, overall, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is no longer increasing accelerated by facilitating the mass uptake of low-carbon technologies and flexibilityFlexibility is the ability to increase or decrease the production and / or consumption of energy at a given or requested time in order to support the wider electricity network and optimise capacity available for customers. We are seeking to adopt flexibility-first strategies, where flexibility solutions are the preferred means of balancing additional demand on our network;ii
  • expanded scope of network information, enabling customers to make more informed decisions about how and where to connect;
  • fair and open competition so that our customers have a choice in who delivers their connection;
    and
  • an efficient connections service for all our customers, with smarter, more flexible solutions.

Actions we will take to deliver these outcomes include:

  • developing digital platforms for connections customers who want to self-serve;
  • providing enhanced upfront support for those who prefer to talk to us before making an application, including an ‘ask the expert’ technical advice service;iii
  • introducing new automated systems to streamline the notification process for low-carbon technology connections;
  • reducing lead times for small works customers by over 25 per cent;
  • upskilling our design engineers to support customers by identifying where flexible connections may avoid the need for network reinforcement Reinforcement is where we invest customers’ money to improve network capacity. Sometimes we will seek to defer or delay this using other techniques – such as flexibility – to provide better value for money for customers ;iv
  • reducing small works connection time from 38 to 27 days;
  • giving small works customers the option to pick the time and date of their connection;
  • improving our network capacity heat mapsA tool that shows where there is additional capacity on our network, and where there are constraints. They are useful tools for customers investigating the viability of a new connection to include information that can forecast changes in capacity availability;
  • creating an online portal to allow automated network management (ANM) connected customers to access network information and curtailment operations Instances when the availability of the network will be affected, and we work to inform our customers to support their own operational planning;v
  • ensuring a 90 per cent satisfaction rating for major works customers; and
  • developing a bespoke AutoDesignOur online low-voltage connection budget estimation tool, allowing customers to generate quick and accurate quotes to support budget estimations for proposed connections platform for Independent connection providers (ICPs) ICPs are independent companies that are licensed to carry out network connections works on behalf of customers on distribution networks operated by DNOs or IDNOs and Independent distribution network operators (IDNOs) IDNOs are companies separate to DNOs that are licensed by Ofgem to develop and operate new distribution networks including costs for work that can only be carried out by us.

Benefits:

  • increased connections in areas of constraint;
  • quicker and cheaper small works connections Delivering new connections to our LV network. For example, connecting two new build houses, or new electric vehicle chargers. Anything under 50KVa. ;
  • more choice for customers in how they interact with us;
  • better support through the connections process;
  • easy identification of the most viable and cost-effective connections with real-time cost estimates; and
  • ICPs/IDNOs will have access to increased levels of network data to support competition.

i AutoDesignOur online low-voltage connection budget estimation tool, allowing customers to generate quick and accurate quotes to support budget estimations for proposed connections is a free online tool designed to speed up the connections process. The intuitive system is underpinned by real-world network data to help users identify the best new connections locations. AutoDesignOur online low-voltage connection budget estimation tool, allowing customers to generate quick and accurate quotes to support budget estimations for proposed connections can provide an indicative connection cost in minutes, instead of the usual 10-day turnaround.

ii flexibilityFlexibility is the ability to increase or decrease the production and / or consumption of energy at a given or requested time in order to support the wider electricity network and optimise capacity available for customers. We are seeking to adopt flexibility-first strategies, where flexibility solutions are the preferred means of balancing additional demand on our network is the ability to increase or decrease the production or consumption of energy at a given or requested time in order to support the wider electricity network and optimise capacity available for customers.

iii Our award-winning AutoDesignOur online low-voltage connection budget estimation tool, allowing customers to generate quick and accurate quotes to support budget estimations for proposed connections platform will also give customers greater flexibilityFlexibility is the ability to increase or decrease the production and / or consumption of energy at a given or requested time in order to support the wider electricity network and optimise capacity available for customers. We are seeking to adopt flexibility-first strategies, where flexibility solutions are the preferred means of balancing additional demand on our network to self-serve and generate accurate quotes to support budget estimates for connections.

iv Reinforcement Reinforcement is where we invest customers’ money to improve network capacity. Sometimes we will seek to defer or delay this using other techniques – such as flexibility – to provide better value for money for customers in where we invest customers’ money to improve network capacity. Sometimes we will seek to defer or delay reinforcement Reinforcement is where we invest customers’ money to improve network capacity. Sometimes we will seek to defer or delay this using other techniques – such as flexibility – to provide better value for money for customers with other techniques – such as flexibilityFlexibility is the ability to increase or decrease the production and / or consumption of energy at a given or requested time in order to support the wider electricity network and optimise capacity available for customers. We are seeking to adopt flexibility-first strategies, where flexibility solutions are the preferred means of balancing additional demand on our network – to provide better value for money for customers.

v curtailment operations Instances when the availability of the network will be affected, and we work to inform our customers to support their own operational planning may include planned outages. Providing this information will support customers with their own operational planning.

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