Power network reveals next steps toward a smart future

UK Power Networks’, the UK’s largest electricity distribution network, has revealed the next steps in its plans to transform its network into a smart, flexible grid.  A new report, ‘What our stakeholders said’, summarises how the responses to the network’s 2017 Future Smart consultation, will inform its 2018/2019 Distribution System Operator (DSO) plans to support ‘a smart grid for all’ and deliver better outcomes for customers.

The feedback from the consultation highlighted 8 key areas of focus and UK Power Networks has come up with solutions that will benefit customers including how customers can connect to the network, low cost and hassle free electric vehicle charging, support for community energy schemes, a forward-look at flexibility services and a consumer A-Z of Future Energy.

The 8 key themes are:

  1. Accelerate the roll-out of Active Network Management to facilitate quicker and cheaper connections
  2. Continue to run flexibility tenders for Distributed Energy Resource (DER) and improve understanding of our flexibility needs
  3. Support local energy growth through providing information and collaboration
  4. Educate and inform different customer groups of the transition to DSO and opportunities of the future of energy
  5. Improve network visibility and monitoring at the lower voltage levels to accommodate DER growth, prioritising areas where we see electric vehicle clustering
  6. Consider how vulnerability might change as a result of future energy developments and explore who will serve and respond to the needs of vulnerable customers
  7. Clarify the DSO’s roles and responsibilities as separation steps are taking place in National Grid at the transmission level
  8. Strengthen the collaboration between different energy sectors such as transport, heat and gas as will have an influence on electricity networks within a while systems approach

UK Power Networks won praise for its creative, consumer focused consultation that resulted in 32 responses from customers, industry partners, government, community groups, generators, the regulator charities and suppliers. Over 90% of respondents agreed with its DSO capability model, DSO roadmap and DSO strategy.

Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Head of Smart Grid Development, said, “We have already begun our transition to become a DSO so that we can empower and enable our customers and the communities we serve to benefit from a decentralised, decarbonised and digitised system. The responses we got to the consultation have given us confidence that we are going in the right direction, and given us inspiration for how we can continue to improve.”

UK Power Networks is transitioning to a DSO, to respond fully to the changing needs of customers, both now and in the future, and work with the wider industry to deliver a decentralised, decarbonised and digitised energy system at lowest cost. Over 9GW of local generation, of which half is from renewable sources, is already connected to UK Power Networks across London, the East and South East of England.

To see the full range of supporting comments and views which we are also considering in developing out strategy further, please view the detailed consultation response insights.

www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk